Jodie does rescue act; Films NIM'S ISLAND (U) VERDICT: ***.
JODIE FOSTER has made her name with some of the toughest movies around - Taxi Driver, The Accused, Silence of the Lambs and The Brave One.
But her new film, aimed at children and granted a U certificate by the BBFC, could prove to be her most controversial yet.
Little Miss Sunshine star Abigail Breslin plays a girl on a remote island who is left alone when her scientist father (Gerard Butler) disappears at sea.
Luckily, the avid reader has a computer and she ends up communicating with her favourite author, Alex.
Before you know it, Alex is en route to help little Nim in a film taglined 'Be the hero of your own story', So far, so good. But what Nim doesn't realise is that Alex is actually a woman, played by Jodie Foster.
Now, just imagine... Nim thinks Alex is a woman and it's a chap who turns up.
How would that idea travel in cinemas, especially when Ofcom has recently been warning parents about the dangers of the internet?
On a more conventional level, Nim's Island is a hi-tech spin on Robinson Crusoe, with just a hint of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Breslin is one of the smartest youngsters around and - so long as you aren't getting fed up of her after Sunshine and this year's Definitely, Maybe - she does all that could be asked of her.
Foster, more used to appearing in violent movies, does a decent job of portraying how many writers like Alexandra Rover are probably prisoners in their own lives.
Butler (300 / PS I Love You) is getting the roles these days, but would never have me rushing to the box office like some major stars. Dear Frankie is the best film he's been in and nobody went to see that!
Co-directed by Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, the writer of his excellent junior romcom Little Manhattan, Nim's Island is a competent children's adventure featuring some decent effects blending imagination with reality.
But it's a long way short of last year's top quality hat-trick - The Last Mimzy, The Bridge to Terabithia and Enchanted.
FISHY FRIEND... Abigail Breslin.; IN DEEP TROUBLE... Jodie Foster goes in search of a girl stranded on a desert island.