Sand, sun and an endless shoreline are the perfect setting for a summer crush. For Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque), it's also the setting for their last summer together before Hailey and her mother move to Australia.
In order to avoid thinking about the inevitable parting, the two modest, sun-conscious preteens spend endless hours focusing on the hunky lifeguard who is the object of their seasonal affection.
Unfortunately, Raymond (Jake McDorman) is also on the radar of every bronzed, bikini-clad beauty on the beach including the older and more confident Cecilia Banks (Arielle Kebbel) and her two sidekicks. With so much interest coming his way, Raymond is totally oblivious to the younger girls' infatuation.
However, life at the beach house changes for Claire and Hailey when they discover a mermaid swimming in the club's outdoor pool. During a terrible tempest, Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) washed up on shore. Now the gentle sea siren wants to exchange her gills for gams so she can experience life on land.
Outfitted with feet and newfound facts from Claire and Hailey's stash of teen magazines, the wannabe landlubber falls fins over flippers for Raymond and promises to grant the girls one wish if they help her reel him in. But helping Aquamarine snag a date is difficult when the mermaid has to be back in the water by sunset.
Aimed at the preteen set, Aquamarine focuses on Hailey and Claire's friendship and the relationship they develop with the blonde sea creature. The script incorporates adolescent angst over body shapes, teen tabloids and the budding interest in boys. Yet the movie also addresses deeper fears both the girls must face. Claire is understandably afraid of the water after her parents were drowned at sea. Hailey is worried about having to be the new kid at school, again. Luckily for young viewers, the conclusions to their concerns resembles reality more than an overblown fish tale.
For parents, the flippant use of terms of Deity and some mean-spirited teasing by a stereotypical trio of bad girls may be the biggest issues. As well, Aquamarine's naiveness and her lack of clothing require the girls to be inventive when she comes ashore.
Still for tween girls who are too old for Arial in The Little Mermaid and too young for Daryl Hannah's character in Splash, Aquamarine may be the perfect mermaid to catch their interest, hook, line and sinker.