Shipwrecks, sealions and an agoraphobic Jodie Foster serve to make Nim's Island silly but fun

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: May 2, 2008 | Publication: | Author: Tim Robey
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Being trapped in tight spaces with the fascinating Jodie Foster has become a professional hazard lately. Foster had her femme-in-peril thriller phase with Panic Room and Flightplan, queasily got her own back in The Brave One, and now, in what's billed as a rare comic turn, she pops up in Nim's Island as Alexandra Rover, a highly strung agoraphobic novelist who hasn't left her apartment in 16 weeks.

There's no such thing as a comfort zone in Foster's performances, comic or otherwise: she's almost too good here, making Alexandra such an exhausting bag of neuroses that the movie hardly knows what to do with her.

Perhaps mercifully, it's not her film. Little Miss Sunshine?'s Abigail Breslin is Nim, a young damsel left to fend for herself on a Pacific island when her marine biologist dad (Gerard Butler) gets shipwrecked.

At first it's all parties with sea lions and home-alone fun, but when daddy fails to come back, Nim emails Alexandra, author of her favourite adventure novels, for help. Foster braves the outside world and travels hysterically across half of it, but for no very clear reason.

As it turns out, Nim is essentially Macaulay Culkin in drag, successfully repelling a whole army of vulgar Australian tourists with the help of some chummy lizards. What possible assistance could a constantly vomiting, obsessive-compulsive writer provide in such surroundings?

For a film besotted with its adventure yarns, this is curiously uninterested in sound storytelling - the kind that might make Foster's arrival on the island, or even Butler's return, an urgent necessity. Instead, since Nim's mother drowned when she was a baby, forging a new family unit is the underlying agenda.

The movie gets plain silly, but at least it's lively, and young girls will enjoy Nim's lifestyle in her eco-friendly and frolic-packed tropical paradise.