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Aquamarine's screenwriters must have strong left-hand middle fingers, having given said digit quite a keyboard workout striking the letter "e" so often while producing dialogue like this:

Claire: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Hailey: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Aquamarine: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

There hasn't been this much dolphin-pitched squealing on the big screen since that ill-fated Flipper movie that Elijah Wood would probably like to forget. The mere glimpse of a cute boy gets these girls' hormones flowing so fast they can do nothing but screech high-pitched expressions of pubescent joy that could give Mariah Carey a run for her money.

This is naught but a plastic, bubbly reworking of the mermaid legend that goes like this: Two best friends about to be separated by a move find a lost mermaid, named Aquamarine, who wants to find love. The girls try to hook the mermaid up with the hottest lifeguard on the beach, hoping the favor will win them a wish that could preserve their friendship.

The allure of the girl-power, BFF (best friends forever!) sentiment could have been moving — for a 10-year-old. But by age 13, however, most girls would need a barf bag, especially when the Barbie-built Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) squeaks, "I love vintage!" during a resale-shopping montage meant to lend the film a "dare to be you" message.

The script is replete with as many nautical clichés as shrieks. The teen mermaid uses words like "barnacles" to cuss, and she makes calls on — seriously — a "shell" phone. Talk about Velveeta with a side of Kraft dinner.

Worse yet, Aquamarine builds a teen fantasy world based not just on the myth that mermaids exist, but that any ill can be overcome with a cute boy, teen magazine advice quizzes and a quick trip to the mall. Gag me with Neptune's trident.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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