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Apparently Beverly Cleary’s series of popular kids’ books features a young heroine named Ramona (Joey King) who dares to be different and sometimes swims in imaginative waters while others barely dip their toes in the shallow end because they are too caught up in the pressures of the world.

That’s a fine idea for kids to embrace, and maybe in a half-hour television series it would have made a bigger splash with its younger target audience. But the movie fails to imitate Ramona’s rebellious spirit.

Instead, director Elizabeth Allen (Aquamarine) makes a beeline for the most conventional and formulaic route, which surprisingly takes quite a long time to reach the obvious destination.

Even my 9-year-old leaned over at one point during this long and winding road trip to ask me if we were there yet. And neither of us were distracted in the least bit by The Witches of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez (as the perfectly annoying older sister Beezus) or the family friendly mugs of Big Poppa John Corbett, Pretty Mama Bridget Moynahan, Cool Auntie Ginnifer Goodwin or the charmingly roguish boy next door Josh Duhamel.

Ramona and Beezus is really just an uninspired lead balloon drag; certainly not the kind of movie Ramona would want to waste any of her precious time watching. Grade: D