Nim’s Island is a fantasy film aimed at the under ten crowd. Based on the popular Wendy Orr kid-lit novel of the same name, it is a gentle fantasy-adventure story featuring an all-star cast including Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler and Abigail Breslin.
Nim (Breslin) is an 11-year-old who lives with her marine biologist father Jack (Gerard Butler) on an uncharted Pacific island. They are the Swiss Family Robinson for a new generation. When she isn’t dancing or playing soccer with best friend, a sea lion, she passes the time reading adventure novels about a fictional character named Alex Rover written by a phobic San Francisco author also named Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster). When Jack is lost at sea, abandoning Nim on the lonely island, she turns to the only person she thinks can help—her heroine Alex. Thinking she is e-mailing her hero she actually is in touch with the neurotic author who drops everything to come to the rescue. As they work together to find Jack they overcome their fears and Alex becomes the mom Nim never had.
Nim’s Island will likely entertain young girls born after 1998 but may be a tough sell for anyone over the age of ten. Bogged down by bad dialogue, lame action and blatant product placement—Apple Computers anyone?—the whole thing feels lackluster despite the efforts of the cast.
Abigail Breslin sparkles in the lead role, but doesn’t have the depth of personality she usually shows while Jodie Foster gives her worst performance to date. She’s a great actress but her efforts to inject some life into the proceedings fall flat as she proves once and for all that she has no gift for slapstick. Butler fares best of all in a double role that is both charming and fun.
Nim’s Island is an unremarkable movie that does have good values for kids but suffers from a predictable story and a misguided performance from Foster.