By now you must have heard: JoJo is officially back on the scene. The singer dropped a “tringle” of singles a few weeks ago, and it’s had us all nostalgically blasting “Leave (Get Out)” in tribute. But I’m revisiting a slightly different JoJo moment: that time she co-starred with Emma Roberts in the 2006 mermaid film Aquamarine.
Aquamarine never really took off, and the rare few who have heard of it tend to mock it rather than appreciate it. But I have no idea why. Because Aquamarine was pretty much the best film of the noughties.
It’s been absolutely slated on IMDb, but here are the six reasons I think Aquamarine deserves a little bit more credit.
1. It’s weird in the best way
The movie opens with the freakiest opening credits I have ever seen on a family-friendly movie. The camera swims through the water in a manner unnervingly reminiscent of the opening credits of Jaws, but accompanied by a murmured half-laugh half-song that sounds like the soundtrack to your creepiest nightmare. The film doesn’t get any less weird after that.
2. It’s super punny
I don’t care what anybody says, puns are the most sophisticated form of humor. This movie’s about mermaids, so from start to finish the script is swimming (you’re welcome) with puns such as “shell phone,” “clear the water,” and “there’s something very fishy about that girl.”
Instead of cursing, the girls cry “holy mackerel” or “bullshark” — and when the mean girl first arrives on the scene, Emma Roberts asks “did you order a sand-witch?” It’s pure brilliance.
3. It showcases some pretty forward-thinking style
Even though this movie is nearly a decade old, Aquamarine has hair Kylie Jenner would be proud to show off in 2015. Even more enviable are her color-changing finger-scales, which adapt according to her mood. (OK, that’s cool, but also pretty embarrassing when they light up bright pink every time you see the guy you fancy?)
Plus, that t-shirt-turned-dress trick is sooo Pinterest. Aquamarine did it first!
4. It sums up teen lust perfectly
The seriousness placed on dating tips from magazines in this movie is hilarious. The girls teach each other to do the “fluff and retreat” or the “laugh and pass”; there’s even a whole montage dedicated to the girls studying Cosmo. Any interaction they do have with the boy of their affection is a massive (and hormone-ridden) deal. Raymond, the sexy lifeguard, jumps in to save Emma Roberts from drowning “with his actual biceps”; when he so much as kisses them on the cheek, their (somewhat orgasmic) screams can be heard across the ocean.
But it’s not just teenage girls who are being mocked; Raymond’s constant preening and flexing is just as parodied. One of my favorite scenes shows Raymond muttering “ooh that hurts, but this will be worth it” in between sit-ups — the perfect balance to the makeover montages that take up a fair bit of the girls’ scenes.
5. It encourages you to have confidence in being different
“Why go through life unnoticed?” is the motto of Aquamarine, the oddball mermaid protagonist, and it certainly pays off. Despite rubbing her face with cotton candy, downing salt water, and walking around with starfish stuck to her face, Aquamarine gets the guy, just like she knew she would from the beginning.
“How could he not love me?” she asks early on — and it’s this self-esteem that attracts Raymond to her. “Are you always so sure of yourself?” he asks, adding, “It’s nice. More people should be like that.”
Aquamarine’s not the only outsider in the film, though. Leonard, the mysterious handyman who terrifies the girls with his unusual ways, turns out to be one of the movie’s heroes.
6. It’s kind of the original Frozen
Seven years before Frozen even existed, Aquamarine was already doing the whole “love between women saves the day” plot line. JoJo and Emma Roberts play Hailey and Claire, two best friends constantly looking out for each other. There are plenty of adorable moments between the pair throughout the film; when the nervous Claire sticks up for herself, the genuine pride on Hailey’s face is enough to bring you to tears. The climax of the film is entirely hinged on these girls and their powerful girl-love, and it’s delightful. Take that, Elsa and Anna.
7. It gives you hope of being friends with JoJo
If we’re being honest, Emma Roberts’ character is a total dweeb. The fact that JoJo’s super-cool and sassy character still wants to be her best friend gives us all hope that we, too, could be JoJo’s best friend one day. A girl can dream…