Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Oh, Christ on a cracker with Cheez Whiz, is this movie dreadful. Seemingly created by people who have never written a movie, and perhaps never actually seen a movie, the teen romantic-drama BEASTLY is a barely recognizable telling of the Beauty and the Beast story, filtered through the shallow Alex Flinn novel and adapted by director Daniel Barnz (PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND). Accepting that the filmmakers think this movie qualifies as fantasy on some level, there still isn't a spark of genuine human emotion or depth to BEASTLY at all.
It's a weightless story of the conceited asshole known as Kyle (Alex Pettyfer, who can also be seen stinking up I AM NUMBER FOUR), who is apparently running for president of his school's "Green Party" because it will look good on his transcripts for college. He's a classically good-looking guy, who openly acknowledges that good things happen to pretty people, therefore, he should win the election. He openly mocks those less fortunate than him (ugly people), and even gets bold enough to pretend to hit on the school witch--what, your school didn't have one?--Kendra, played by Mary-Kate Olsen, trying very hard to look wiccan chic. (A colleague called her "runway Goth"; I like that too.) When Kendra gets her heart broken, she puts a curse on Kyle that makes his face appear that it had an accident at a combination auto plant/glass-blowing factory/tattoo parlor. Scars, slivers of metal, and face painting litter his pretty self, and he goes into hiding with the help of his equally beauty-obsessed news anchor father (Peter Krause). The only way to break the curse is if someone says they love Kyle in a year's time.
For reasons I was never quite clear on, Kyle falls for "plain" classmate Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). He stalks her from underneath his hooded sweatshirt for a while, finds out her dad is a junkie, and somehow convinces himself it's OK to keep her locked away in his hideaway condo to protect her from her dad's dangerous, drug-dealer friends. Lindy doesn't like feeling like a prisoner, but eventually she gets used to it so the plot can move forward. What follows is the most awkward, unconvincing courtship you will ever see. First off, we're supposed to believe Lindy doesn't recognize Kyle, who she also had a crush on in school. Apparently, a few cosmetic scars completely obscure his face in her eyes. Second, Kyle discovers poetry, thus making him deep and able to really get the love juices flowing. Third, I hate this fucking movie.
Instead of candlestick and clock sidekicks, like in the Disney version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Kyle gets a Jamaican maid with a terrible fake accent (LisaGay Hamilton) and a blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris), who never seems to teach. But even the occasional zinger from NPH can't breath any life into the stale, flaccid BEASTLY, and he spends most of the movie looking out of place and slightly constipated. I'd love to tell you that the problems with this film are limited to its terrible acting, miserable writing, and gaping plot holes. But the truth is, the entire film is a gaping hole that needs to be surgically sewn shut for good.
BEASTLY doesn't even elevate itself to "so bad, it's good" status (a category I don't really subscribe to) because it doesn't even work as camp or satire or entertainment or anything. I found myself craving BURLESQUE. Each new scene brings a new set of lows, each performer is worse than the one who appeared on screen immediately before, each plot development is dumber than...anything, ever. Did somebody lose a bet to get this movie released? To hell with this movie; I'm done talking about it. Now go see it, and tell me I'm wrong. well.
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