A modern update of Little Women! What girl who grew up sharing the dreams and disappointments of the March sisters wouldn’t want to see them in today’s world? But oh dear, this is embarrassingly misjudged, so earnest a transfer that these sisters feel odd and out-of-step, unrecognizable as 21st-century girls and women. The favorite of Alcott fans is Jo (Sarah Davenport), for her notorious yet admired temper, but which rears up here only as a kind of selfish cruelty; this is perhaps the biggest injustice of this adaptation. Her writerly ambitions manifest in a wildly unsophisticated appreciation of how modern publishing works, too. The other sisters, and their men, are a mash of blandness: eldest Meg (Melanie Stone); “boring” Beth (Allie Jennings); baby Amy (Elise Jones as a child; Taylor Murphy as a young adult); neighbor and surrogate brother Laurie (Lucas Grabeel) and his tutor, Brooke (Stuart Edge); and Jo’s literary friend, college professor Freddy (Ian Bohen). The stiltedness of everything we endure here is a problem, but mostly for the resulting bloodlessness. No adaptation of Little Women should ever lack passion like this one does.
Director: Clare Niederpruem
Producer: Lucas Grabeel, Brent Geisler, Maclain Nelson, Kristi Shimek, Stephen Shimek, David Wulf, Maclain Nelson, Chris Donahue and Marybeth Sprows
Cast: Sarah Davenport, Lea Thompson, Melanie Stone, Allie Jennings, Taylor Murphy, Elise Jones, Lucas Grabeel, Ian Bohen, Stuart Edge and Bart Johnson