This is a brief review of the movie Beastly starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens.
Beastly i? th? absolute wrong choice ?f ? n?m? f?r ? film a? flawed a? thi? on?. Choose ? n?me l?ke th?t ?nd you've ju?t set your??lf up f?r ? batch ?f beastly jokes. However, becaus? it's based ?n th? y?ung adult n?vel by Alex Flinn ?f th? sam? n?me (which ? h?ve n?t read ?nd ther?for? can't s?y h?w faithful th? film i? t? th? book), ? assume th?t ev?n aft?r s?e?ng th? final cut th? studio h?d n? choice but t? live w?th th? title.
This updated tak? ?n th? classic Beauty ?nd th? Beast tale starts ?ff badly ?nd th?n find? it? footing f?r ? f?w minutes - ju?t en?ugh time t? mak? u? hav? hope th? worst i? ov?r ?nd th? rocky st?rt w?? ju?t ? bit ?f jitters fr?m ? writer/director w?th only on? oth?r film und?r h?? belt. But, alas, th? bad st?rt w?s ?n omen ?f thing? t? c?me. Beastly's b?g message i? t? l??k b?yond th? surface ?nd f?nd inn?r beauty, how?ver th? film it?elf i? a? shallow a? it g?ts. The set-up i? inane, th? characters ar? n? m?r? th?n cardboard cut-outs (with on? exception I'll g?t t? later), ?nd s? m?ny wrong choices ar? mad? it's difficult t? single out ?ny on?. Beastly's th? perfect storm ?f bad decisions.
Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) i? rich ?nd good-looking, ?nd th?t m??ns h? c?n g?t by w?th treating ev?ry?n? but th? m??t beautiful ?f hi? peers lik? crap. It als? m?an? he's popular because, y?u know, he's rich ?nd good-looking. We meet Kyle wh?n he's giving on? ?f th? m??t despicable, horribly written campaign speeches ?n th? history ?f th? world. He w?nts t? b? ?n charge ?f th? 'green' committee ?nd apparently th? competition f?r such ? position i? fierce. Mind you, he's n?t campaigning f?r student body president ?r ?ny such th?ng. It's th? 'green' committee ?t ? h?gh school, t? wh?ch my response ?n th? theater was, "Huh?"
So Kyle tells hi? fellow students th?t if you're ugly, y?u don't count. No on? questions h?? delusional p?int ?f view a? they're e?th?r ?n awe ?f hi? power, blinded by hi? looks, ?r scared t? death ?f th? possibility ?f b??ng th? victim ?f on? ?f hi? putdowns. But there's ? witchy woman walking ar?und h?? school wh? isn't afraid ?f Kyle's popularity ?nd isn't charmed by h?? lo?ks. Backing up ? bit her? t? explain th?t ? s?y 'woman' bec?us? thi? character, Kendra, i? played by Mary-Kate Olsen wh? doesn't l??k l?ke she's ?n h?gh school anymore, but d?e? l?ok gr?at ?ll gothed-up. Despite th? f?ct sh? obv??usly loathes Kyle, sh? semi-accepts h?? invitation t? ? dance. Why? Because sh? th?nks h? m?ght actu?lly h?v? s?meth?ng redeeming ?n h?m ?nd i? w?lling t? g?v? h?m on? shot ?t proving h?ms?lf. However, wh?n sh? turn? up ?t th? dance Kyle's g?t hi? nasty-face ?n ?nd Kendra's h?d en?ugh ?f hi? narcissistic w?ys. She curses him, turn?ng h?? handsome f?c? int? ? mass ?f tattoos ?nd gaping cuts. His gorgeous hair's g?ne ?nd th?r? ar? wh?t lo?k l?ke staples acr?s? hi? nose. But th?? curse d?es h?v? ? cure. If h? meets ? girl bef?r? th? end ?f on? y??r ?nd sh? s?y? sh? loves him, th?n he'll return t? normal. If not, it's s? l?ng GQ model, hell? heartbreak ?nd loneliness.
Now ?n beastly form, ?nd bec?us? th? apple hasn't fallen f?r fr?m th? tree, n?t ev?n h?s own father c?n stand th? sight ?f h?m. Kyle's banished t? ? luxurious condo wh?re he'll spend h?s days w?th only ? Jamaican maid (LisaGay Hamilton) ?nd ? blind teacher (Neil Patrick Harris) f?r company. He's free t? c?m? ?nd g? a? h? pleases, but he's to? ashamed ?f h?s l?ok? t? venture out?id? exc?pt f?r ?t night wh?le wearing ? hoodie. Although he's sticking t? th? shadows, th?r? i? on? girl fr?m h?? Manhattan h?gh school wh? proves t? b? endlessly fascinating ?nd worth tak?ng th? risk ?f b??ng s?en t? watch. Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens ?f High School Musical fame) i? ? cutie who, wh?le h? w?s st?ll ?n h?s hunky form, Kyle s??med t? h?v? m?de ? connection w?th ?n h?s l??t night ?n h?? old form. Why th?s seemingly intelligent, normal girl w?uld ev?r f?nd anyth?ng inter?sting ab?ut th?? obnoxious jerk isn't explained.
The story n?ed? Lindy t? b? forced int? staying ?t Kyle's out-of-the-way hideout s? w? ar? forced t? endure th? m??t ridiculous ?f set-ups that's s? ludicrous it need? t? b? s??n t? b? believed (not th?t I'm suggesting y?u pay t? s?e th?? film). With Lindy unhappily confined t? h?s house (by th? way, Kyle's actu?lly g??ng by Hunter n?w ?n ord?r t? k??p h?? curse ? secret), it's up t? Kyle t? woo th? beauty ?nd break h?? curse. He's ? real fish out ?f water a? he's n?v?r h?d t? depend ?n hi? personality t? win ov?r ? woman before, s? hi? maid ?nd teacher w?ll ne?d t? d? s?m? s?rious mentoring ?n ord?r t? m?ke Hunter worthy ?f ? girl a? sweet ?nd k?nd a? Lindy.
Vanessa Hudgens i? ? cutie wh?ch i? ?ll th?t i? demanded ?f her, Alex Pettyfer sh?w? mor? range her? th?n ?n ? Am Number Four, Peter Krause (Kyle's dad) i? wasted, ?nd LisaGay Hamilton is, despit? b?ing saddled w?th ? Jamaican accent, decent a? th? patient maid wh? trie? t? bring out th? g??d ?n Kyle. But th? shining bright spot ?n Beastly i? Neil Patrick Harris. Whenever NPH i? around, Beastly bec?m?s ? lot m?r? tolerable. Harris m?kes th? mo?t out ?f poor material, ?nd als? brings out th? be?t ?n Pettyfer. Their scenes m?k? it easier t? understand th? 20 y??r old Brit's sudden rise ?n popularity, alth?ugh hi? off-screen behavior m?y hav? squelched h?? chances ?t capitalizing ?n th? rec?nt buzz.
The Bottom Line
Beastly's m?r? ?f ? mess th?n it? lead character's f?c?. Granted, th?? i? ? romantic fantasy f?r teens s? it's ok?y t? push th? limits ?f believability ? l?ttle. But Beastly's writer/director Daniel Barnz (Phoebe ?n Wonderland) go?? b?yond th? absurd. There's n?th?ng real h?re t? latch onto, n? character wh? com?? acr??s a? th? slightest bit authentic. Not ev?n Lindy, th? film's 'normal' girl, i? safe fr?m th? outrageousness ?f th? story.
The f?ct Beastly i? ent?r?ly predictable isn't wh?t doe? th?? teen fantasy ?n. Let's f?c? it, if y?u kn?w anyth?ng ab?ut Beauty ?nd th? Beast, y?u kn?w ev?rything ab?ut Beastly. No, it's th? f?ct th?s version ?f th? classic tale i? lifeless ?nd bland th?t m?k?s Beastly such ? disaster. Disney's animated film featured characters th?t w?re mor? alive ?nd human th?n th?? live-action film.