Movie Review - Beastly

Part Twilight, part Beauty and the Beast, Beastly is a teen starring hot new British actor Alex Pettyfer and High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens. An arrogant, wealthy and extremely handsome young man is forced to pay for his sins when he’s transformed into a monster in this hokey teen morality play.  The film wants to be dark and sexy, underground and hip. It tries hard, but there’s no substance to hang onto - no meat.

Pettyfer is Kyle, a tall blonde hunk who opens the film exercising in his Manhattan window for all to see, grinning and smirking knowing he’s being watched and appreciated, not just by the people outside his window but by us, the viewers.  It’s an interesting moment, and we become complicit.
Kyle’s a high school alpha dog who wins a student election through various unsavory means, supported by his adoring, subservient friends.  Across a crowded room he spots Lindy (Hudgens), a scholarship student who will have none of him.  She lets him know she’s no fan.  She’s authentic.
Kendra, a flamboyant Goth classmate played by Mary Kate Olsen, is suspected of being a witch, which she is. Kyle makes the mistake of crossing her in the romance department so she decides to punish him – cursing him with a spell that turns him into a tattooed, scarred freak. It’s the worst she could do to a man who has lived his life beautiful.
Kyle’s remote and seriously disgusted father banishes him to a secret but gracious home across New York’s bridges and tunnels (the horror!). Neil Patrick Harris moves in as his helper and through a series of events, Lindy winds up living with them. She doesn’t know it’s Kyle, as far as she knows, he’s a hideous unfortunate with enough money to hide in style.

Well it seems only a scholarship student can learn to like Kyle for who he is on the inside, and overlook his beastly appearance. With her on his side, Kyle’s personality begins to improve slowly but surely. Can they find true romance and live happily ever after across the river from Manhattan?
Pettyfer is okay as Kyle, he does a fair job and we must assume he’s a patient person given the amount of makeup he must have endured each shooting day.  But he’s not big in the believability department and spends much of the film under a hoodie.  He has potential but needs to do more roles that are grounded in reality and forget sci-fi and fantasy for a while. 
Hudgens is a terrific, seasoned young actress who brings sunshine and sufficient realism to the film. Hers isn’t a great role but she does good things with it and you have to hand that to her.
The script is lackluster and at times, silly. It is not authentic; okay, it’s a fantasy but every genre must be somehow attached to realism in dialogue and action.  It is false and labored, and self-consciously aimed at a specific market.  There’s nothing to hang onto.  And the ending screams “Sequel!”
Written by Daniel Barnz, Alex Flinn
Directed by Daniel Barnz
Runtime: 95 minutes
Source: M&C
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