Cast lifts 'Kit' above typical kiddie fare

Released at one local theater last month, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" opened Wednesday across metro Atlanta. A review recap:

The good news is that "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" has been made carefully and with a genuine old-fashioned feel and is likely to appeal to folks under 10 or over 60. If Grandmother is looking for a pleasant afternoon outing with the little ones, it's a safe and undemanding bet.

Like the multi-platformed product it springs from, "Kit Kittredge" is built around a strong girl character in a challenging American era —- in this case, a 10-year-old Ohioan growing up during the Depression. Dad has lost his job and gone looking for work; Mom is anxious, and taking in boarders.

It's hardly John Steinbeck, but it's certainly more serious than the talking animals and gassy brats that inhabit most children's movies. When the tenants move in, the film even takes on a screwball, "You Can't Take It With You" feel, as the screen crowds with struggling dance teachers, out-of-work magicians and snobbish ladies who disapprove of it all.

As Kit, the 10-year-old who only wants to grow up to be a newspaper reporter (hey, remember, this is the '30s), Abigail Breslin is pleasant, if a little too obviously blond and bland. The real fun, as usual, comes from the supporting actors who play the boarders —- Stanley Tucci as the pompous prestidigitator, Jane Krakowski as the terminally flirtatious dancer, and the priceless Joan Cusack as a long-limbed librarian.

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