“Beastly” (Dir. Daniel Barnz, 2011)
A week ago I had no idea who Alex Pettyfer is. Now I’ve seen 2 movies starring the bed headed pretty boy – the first being “I Am Number Four”, and then this modernized take on the ancient fairy tale “Beauty And The Beast” aimed at the “Twilight” teens – and no one else.
We meet the arrogant Pettyfer as he’s running for his New York city High School’s “Green Committee” on a platform based entirely on his looks.
Pettyfer decides to humiliate one of the uglies – a fellow student (a punk attired Mary-Kate Olsen!) who he calls a “self-mutilated, tattooed Frankenskank” (I only remember this phrase because it’s said more than once) by inviting her to a school dance when he already has a date (Dakota Johnson).
Olsen, who with no background given is a real witch, retaliates by casting a vicious spell on Pettyfer that leaves him bald, tattooed, and scarred beyond recognition. He will remain that way forever unless somebody tells him that they love him by the end of a year.
Pettyfer’s just as vain television anchorman father Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) can’t stand to live (or look at) with his deformed son so he banishes him to a Brooklyn townhouse with their Jamaican maid (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and a blind tutor (Patrick Neal Harris).
Because of the dire charisma less acting, I was so thankful when Harris showed up. He’s intended to be the film’s one-liner spouting comic relief, but he functions as much more than that – he’s the only likable presence here.
So Pettyfer starts stalking a girl – Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) – he thinks can help him out of this predicament by at first stalking her, then implausibly getting her to move in to his townhouse in order to protect her from her junkie father’s dangerous drug dealer.
There is not a single surprise in this cutesy cringe-inducing piece of fluff. There’s no believable chemistry between the leads, and its moralizing is offensive as although Pettyfer is supposedly uglied up (in real life NYC his appearance wouldn’t get a second glance) he’s still an empty jerk with money who gets all that he wants in the end.
If nothing else I can now recognize Alex Pettyfer as a British model (he’s so not being cast for his acting chops) who stars in soon to be forgotten dumping ground movie season fodder.
“Beastly” opens Friday, March 4th, all over the Triangle area at a multiplex near you.