Unrewarding, weak and a bit amateurish, Beastly comes up sub-par. I was truly disappointed in the romantic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ drama with both the acting and directing. Unless you are tweens to teens and totally smitten by Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, shy away from this wimpy attempt at moviemaking.
The hackneyed underlining story of Beastly concerns Kyle (Pettyfer) an arrogant modern day private school kid who pushes his way to class president by mocking the unattractive students and winning over his shallow followers. Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a Goth with special powers, finds herself falling into a trap set by Kyle in order to gain her confidence. The trap works and he wins the election. But, Kendra will not stand for the insult and she turns him ugly with a year to find someone who will say to him, ‘I love you’.
He leaves the school and becomes a recluse even being shunned by his famous news anchor father. Meanwhile the losing class presidential candidate Lindy (Hudgens) has been wrapped up at school planning for the school trip. On one occasion she meets the disfigured Kyle and seems to make a connection. This turns into a relationship and it goes on and on from there to the fairy tale ending.
Believe me, the story gets so incredibly unbelievable that the outcome proves silly and nonsensical. Director Daniel Barnz (Phoebe in Wonderland) does nothing to improve the performances of his actors and they are lame at best. His story (Barnz also wrote the screenplay) gets so bizarre with time lines that don’t work and immeasurable useless repetitive scenes that roll out trying the make twists of the inevitable predictable ending. Now if you want to see a good film based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale rent the original 1933 version of King Kong on DVD starring Fay Wray.
The only upside to the film comes with the presence of the deliciously wicked Mary-Kate Olsen who permeates the screen with her Goth witchcraft and sultry performance. Who knew? I mean at least one of the Olsen twins knows how to actually bring an interesting character to the screen. Now there’s one reason to see Beastly.
Sorry Vanessa, maybe you’ll have a better character in Sucker Punch. And if you want to see a good film with Alex Pettyfer, check out I Am Number Four.
Beastly is rated PG 13 for language including some crude comments, drug references and brief violence.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Beastly is Beastly. (D)