Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost, on Nickelodeon
Dolphin Entertainment; IMDb; Sony Pictures; TV.com; Wikipedia
Caution: potential spoilers.
This is the first movie in the Roxy Hunter series. I watched it when it first aired in 2007, and it's the only one of the movies in the series that I did get a chance to see on TV. When I first watched it, I liked the fact that Roxy seemed to have some history... I mean, in some movies, you kind of feel like characters have suddenly popped into existence, in the middle of their lives, even if they might mention in passing some things that have happened to them before... But even though this movie doesn't do that, I still felt like Roxy's past (whatever it may have been) was lived in, you know? I guess it's because the young actress playing her (Aria Wallace) did such a good job of inhabiting the character.
Anyway, it starts with a brief scene in 1944, which seems to set up the mystery that Roxy will be investigating when the movie jumps to the present. And in the present, we meet Roxy Hunter, a 9-year-old girl who has just moved from a city in New Jersey to a small town called Serenity Falls (in what state, I know not), along with her widowed mother, Susan, and Roxy's best friend, Max. Max's parents are archaeologists who travel around the world, which is why Susan is looking after him. He's pretty bright himself, being a 12-year-old who's in eleventh grade. Which I guess he attends via the internet. Roxy herself can't start school yet, since it's too late in the term, which means she's got a lot of free time. We immediately learn that she has a taste for the old fashioned and the cultural, and she's very clever and imaginative, though she often mispronounces some of the big words she uses.
Well, Susan takes a job at the local bank, where she befriends the assistant manager, Jon Steadman (a potential love interest). Roxy, meanwhile, hears from a local kid that the large old house they've moved into- the Moody mansion- is haunted. So of course, being something of a detective (I get the impression this isn't her first case), she decides to investigate the mystery of the ghost, who she figures must be Estelle Moody, who had apparently died there some years ago. Roxy tries to get Max to help her investigate, and he can be helpful at times, but just as often he's more interested in studying for exams. Also I should mention the real estate agent who sold them the house, Rebecca, spends a lot of time at the house to make repairs. (She's also supposed to be babysitting Roxy, but she never actually pays any attention to her, which leaves Roxy free t run around doing whatever she wants, in her quest to learn about the ghost.)
Eventually Roxy and Max discover another resident of the house, a poor medical student named Ramma, who's been living in the attic since getting kicked out of his dorm due to lack of funds. He'll also get roped into helping Roxy in her investigations. Um... well, I suppose I should mention a couple other characters, as well. There's Mr. Middleton, the bank manager who also has a few other jobs in town. And there's Mr. Tibers (Julian Richings), a slightly odd librarian who is of some help to Roxy, as well. Oh, and there's a hawk that Roxy comes to think is the ghost of Estelle, but later thinks it must be Ted Caruthers, who was supposed to have married Estelle in 1944, but died before he got the chance. In fact the movie's opening scene shows us that Estelle's father objected to their relationship, and the scene also leads us to believe he shot Ted. Though later we see that his gravestone says he died at sea, in the war. So, is that true, or was his murder covered up?
Well, I won't tell you. In fact there's really nothing else I can say about the plot without spoiling the end of the mystery, which doesn't really have anything to do with ghosts. Oh, we'll see a ghost or two by the end of the movie, which in spite of being a sort of happily romantic scene I actually found rather sad, on account of a certain implication that isn't actually shown, though I do think a look over the shoulder hinted at it unmistakably. I'm rambling... In any event, Roxy eventually solves the mystery and everything turns out well. The movie was actually a lot better than I expected. It could be pretty funny at times, I found the characters likable, the story wasn't bad. I found both the writing and the acting to be good at times and less good at others, but never really bad. And of course Roxy herself is just adorable. And I guess that's all I can think to say.