ALEX PERRTYFER VANESSA HUDGENS
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS LISA GAY HAMILTON MARY KATE OLSEN
“Everyone knows this story” says Lindy, played by Hudgens; it’s no secret that Beastly is another attempt at a modern day Beauty & the Beast. Beastly, much like Ever After, which was a realistic take on Cinderella, wants to use key elements from the fairy tale while using everything we hate about romantic comedies at the same time. It should come as no surprise, especially with the casting of High School Musical star Hudgens and model turned actor Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), that Beastly is gunning only for a middle school demographic. Some people, upon leaving the screening, compared the theme of the movie to Mean Girls; at least that film had clever quips from writer Tina Fey.
Rich, blond, tall and beautiful high school student Kyle is the person everyone wants to be. He is popular and flaunts it while looking down on anyone that doesn’t have outward beauty. An unpopular girl at school known as the witch (Olsen) casts a spell on Kyle, taking away everything that makes him beautiful and giving him until next spring to find someone to love him for what’s inside rather than his looks. Forced into seclusion and abandoned by his father and friends, Kyle turns to Lindy (Hudgens), who once showed him kindness, and ends up saving her from a robbery and beginning to understand what it is to care about another person. If she doesn’t say the words “I Love You” before spring he will be stuck with his deformed face.
Beastly is Pettyfer’s second chance to spark stardom in Hollywood; his big budget teen super hero flick I Am Number Four bombed both financially and critically. Pettyfer is placing all bets on his looks for success, which is ironic given the film's drowsy theme. For a film like this, all you can hope is that a positive message for children will be conveyed. As an adult, however, all you see here are contrived scenarios that can only be met with rolling of the eyes. The script really goes south with the whole killing and blackmail scene that is just an instigation for getting the girl in the guy's house for the story to play out.
I must say that it’s very interesting that all the supporting actors have three names. The only laughs here are obtained by the small screen’s Neil Patrick Harris; his humor is about the only pulse the movie has. However, most of it is second hand comedy lines that Harris delivers on his television show, so it’s nothing ground-breaking. For what it’s worth, Beastly, with all its silliness, wastes much less time and money that I Am Number Four. Usually, Hudgens’s cute smile and bubble-gum nature can improve a sappy movie like this (i.e. Bandslam), but here it’s no use; she might fare better in Sucker Punch.
Final Thought – Intended only for those wearing pink plastic jewelry.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody