There are many possible reactions to this curious adaptation of Astrid Lindgren's classic children's books, with most reactions being a bit polarized on the "liked it" or "hated it" scale. This review will hopefully be a non-polarized summary for those who are interested in finding out more about this movie.
This adaptation is true to the spirit of Lindgren's books (though it is set in America rather than Sweden), faithfully recreating the plucky, wildly pigtailed Pippi Longstocking and her endearing anarchy at the Villa Villekulla, complete with her horse, her monkey, her gold coins, her "whopper" tales, her superhuman strength, and her constant besting of adults. Though a bit old-looking for the role of a (supposedly) nine-year-old girl, Tami Erin does manage to capture Pippi's spunk, mischief, and childlike appeal.
The curious aspect of the film comes in the form of its incongruously modern-sounding songs, playing against a 1950s backdrop (though the songs are quite catchy), as well as a slightly choppy narrative, with several abrupt scene changes that make certain sections of the movie seem somewhat incomplete. There is a silly, cartoon-style feel to parts of the movie, though other parts are quite amusing.
It is a G-rated movie in the first sense, with absolutely nothing inappropriate (though do keep in mind that Pippi can do anything she wants, including climbing all over the roof of her house), and its fine supporting cast of adults include Dennis Dugan as the ever-exasperated father of neighbors Tommy and Annika, John Schuck as Pippi's father, and Eileen Brennan, who is her usual hilarious self as the stuffy head of the orphanage.
The most curious thing about this film is that, in spite of its little oddities, you find yourself feeling quite happy when the film is over. I was eight years old when the movie came out in 1988, and I absolutely adored it at the time. After all, Pippi gets to do all the things that children wish they could do if they knew they could get away with it. Though there is a slight 80s quality to the film, it seems to hold up fairly well, and can still be seen on video shelves at major retail stores, which says something about its appeal these decades later. It is a children's film (as opposed to a family film), which means it will greatly appeal to, of course, children. . .or children-at-heart. But since that is the essence of Pippi herself, then the film seems to hit the mark.