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For added than 20 years, American Babe dolls and books accept been big sellers. Now the alternation is activity to the movies. Kit Kittredge: An American Babe opens this anniversary in called cities — and civic on July 2.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This summer, the American Babe baby is activity area Barbie’s never been: to the big screen. The blur “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” opens civic July 2nd. Jesse Baker has more.

JESSE BAKER: Kit Kittredge is alone 10 years old, and already she’s got a adenoids for news. It’s 1934 and the Great Depression, and she can alone anticipate about one thing: affairs a chance to her hometown newspaper.

(Soundbite of movie, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”)

Mr. WALLACE SHAWN (Actor): (as Mr. Gibson) Who is it?

Ms. ABIGAIL BRESLIN (Actress): (as Kit Kittredge) Margaret Mildred Kittredge.

(Soundbite banging)

Mr. SHAWN: (as Gibson) What do you want?

Ms. BRESLIN: (as Kit Kittredge) To be in print.

Mr. SHAWN: (as Gibson) Well, how do I say this nicely?

(Soundbite of aperture slamming)

Ms. BRESLIN: (as Kit Kittredge) But you haven’t alike apprehend it.

BAKER: Kit’s editor may not accept apprehend her story, but over 117 actor books about American Girls accept aureate off the bookstore shelves in the accomplished 23 years.

American Babe has nine absolute dolls like Kit. Felicity is from colonial Williamsburg. Kaya’s a Native American. Molly grew up during World War II. Each baby has six books in her alternation to call her struggles during her accurate era of U.S. history.

Ellen Brothers is the admiral of American Girl, and additionally one of the producers on the film.

U.S

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Ms. ELLEN BROTHERS (President, American Girl): I anticipate what American Babe is so acceptable at accomplishing is creating abiding moments for a babe and her ancestors – her mother, her grandmother, her ancestor – and absolutely actualize an affecting affiliation with this brand.

BAKER: Affecting affiliation with a brand? That sounds like the absolute accumulated sell. But I accept to confess: I accept an affecting affiliation with this brand. I’m 26 years old, and I’ve been an American Babe baby lover back I was nine. Of all my dozens of dolls, Kirsten – she’s the avant-garde American babe – charcoal my best admired adolescence treasure.

I can still acquaint you aggregate about her. She originally came from Sweden. Her rag doll’s name is Sorry. She’s a admonition of all the things I admired about my childhood, and article I appetite to be able to canyon bottomward to my adolescent one day.

There were no American Babe food back I was a kid. You had to adjustment the dolls out of a archive and delay for the UPS barter to come. But now, at the American Babe chance in Manhattan, you can buy your baby patent-leather Mary Janes, booty her for tea, for a affable assignment or to the beard salon for an up-do.

The girls there had no agitation answer what they admired about their dolls. Here’s 11-year-old Jessica Walls(ph), Nicole Knopf’s(ph) eight, Jacqueline Beachum’s(ph) nine, and 11-year-old Samantha Normandia(ph).

Ms. SAMANTHA NORMANDIA: Well, she has the aforementioned name as me, and she’s absolutely pretty.

Unidentified Adolescent #1: You get to comedy with them and you get to dress them up.

Unidentified Adolescent #2: She has blue stuff.

Unidentified Adolescent #3: I affectionate of like arena with them added than, like, Barbie dolls because they’re added real. It’s like realistic.

BAKER: Girls like accepting a baby with a astute identity, but how will it activity on the big screen? Little Miss Sunshine herself, Abigail Breslin, embodies the wannabe kid reporter, Kit Kittredge, who writes about the appulse the Depression has on her accompany and neighbors.

(Soundbite of movie, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”)

Ms. BRESLIN: (As Kit Kittredge) Frank, look. That’s your bed.

Unidentified Adolescent #4: What does that mean?

Unidentified Woman: Our furniture.

Unidentified Adolescent #4: Foreclosure by adjustment of the bank?

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Unidentified Adolescent #5: That agency the bank’s demography our abode away.

Ms. BRESLIN: (As Kit Kittredge) Ruthie, it’s not your fault. There’s banks…

BAKER: The film’s director, Patricia Rozema, says she capital to booty the animosity the girls already had for their dolls and body on them.

Ms. PATRICIA ROZEMA (Director, “Kit Kittredge, An American Girl”): Their hearts are as big as ours. Their activity are strong. They acknowledge as deeply, and possibly added to – because they’re aloof not calloused yet.

BAKER: With 13 actor dolls in tow, there’s little agnosticism this will be the must-see for the girls this summer. But “American Girl” hopes to accompany in added than aloof girls. Rozema says there’s article in it for the boys, too.

Ms. ROZEMA: There’s chance and there’s amusement and there’s crisis and there’s action and there’s car crashes, even, if you’re…

(Soundbite of laughter)

BAKER: If the accidental sampling of the one boy in the absolute American Babe abundance in Manhattan counts.

Mr. DIETRICH RIETSEMA(ph): I don’t absolutely like American Girls. I’m not a fan.

BAKER: Not a fan is fine, but what if 10-year-old Dietrich Rietsema’s sister wants to see the movie?

Mr. REITSEMA: If she goes, I anticipate I’ll go about abroad with my dad.

BAKER: Administrator Patricia Rozema says if the boys can aloof get over the chat babe in the title, they ability alike adore the film. For NPR News, I’m Jesse Baker.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website agreement of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for added information.

NPR transcripts are created on a blitz borderline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced application a proprietary archetype action developed with NPR. This argument may not be in its final anatomy and may be adapted or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The accurate almanac of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Precocious Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) battles abuse during the Depression. Cylla von Tiedemann/New Line Cinema adumbrate caption

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Precocious Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) battles abuse during the Depression.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Rated G: Little Miss Sunshine arena with puppy dogs? About as wholesome as you can get.

Mr. Berk (Stanley Tucci) and Miss Bond (Joan Cusack) accompany whimsy to the Kittredge home. Cylla von Tiedemann/New Line Cinema adumbrate caption

Mr. Berk (Stanley Tucci) and Miss Bond (Joan Cusack) accompany whimsy to the Kittredge home.

Aching to apprehension into print, ambitious anchorman Kit Kittredge array two above scoops: The American bread-and-butter arrangement is austere to losers, and the American amusing arrangement is atrocious to outsiders.

This could be arguable stuff, except that Kit Kittredge: An American Babe is set during the Great Depression. Plus, Kit is 10 years old — and actually a doll.

Impersonated actuality by Little Miss Sunshine brilliant Abigail Breslin, Kit was built-in as one of the historical-period dolls marketed by the American Babe empire. Set in 1934 Cincinnati, the cine begins by chronicling the Kittredge family’s abatement from the average class.

At first, Kit can advice her accompany whose parents accept absent aggregate and accept a dog whose owners can no best augment her. Then the coffer seizes the auto dealership run by her dad (Chris O’Donnell), and he hits the alley attractive for work.

Mom (Julia Ormond) starts demography in boarders, including traveling archimage Mr. Berk (Stanley Tucci) and amorous librarian Miss Bond (Joan Cusack). As status-conscious as any child, Kit is mortified.

But she doesn’t accept time to abide on her beneath circumstances, because she’s alien to bodies who accept it alike worse: the hobos, including two abutting to Kit’s age, Will (Max Thieriot) and Countee (Willow Smith).

When citizenry of the bounded hobo affected are defamed as thieves, and Will and Countee are singled out for accusation, Kit promptly investigates. Added Nancy Drew than Barbara Walters, adolescent Miss Kittredge doesn’t aloof address the story, she additionally cracks the case, anecdotic the absolute crooks.

Kit Kittredge was directed by Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema, who courted altercation with a advocate Mansfield Park and such lesbian romances as Back Night Is Falling. But she doesn’t booty any risks with the American Babe franchise, bringing aggregate bottomward to grade-school level.

While the kids are engaging, best of the developed performers are banal and annealed — save for Cusack, who’s so absurd it’s about disturbing. Her camp achievement aside, this well-meaning antic offers little for adults. Chaperones can aloof smile indulgently and achievement that their American babe will about-face out to be as smart, adventurous and candid as Kit Kittredge.

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