Head for Potter
Although Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is about ten year-old Kit's (Abigail Breslin) family struggles during the depression, I doubt anyone but six year olds will enjoy it. It's been a while since I've seen a clich?-ridden, sentimental film like this---most 10 year olds I know would head for the nearest Harry Potter installment for sanity.
In her faux Nancy Drew act, Kit investigates a series of robberies in the money-short, foreclosure-ridden neighborhood. Even award-winning Breslin seems dazed by the pedestrian plot and plodding direction, which leave no tear- possibility unexplored, no stereotype unexploited (benign hobos, shifty magicians, daffy librarians, loveable kids, bumbling adults?the list goes on).
Those hobos: I don't think Woody Guthrie would recognize their clean clothes and pure hearts, much less a compound that looks more like summer camp than hideout. Joan Cusack's mobile library that she continually drives into garbage cans and fences might appeal to four year olds, not six. Her manic, dense librarian could appeal to three year olds.
But this considerably older critic isn't buying the schmaltz except that Kit Kittredge: an American Girl is an example of American moviemaking at its worst. I didn't award it an "F" for fear of being labeled un-American by Dick Cheney.