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Monday, October 8, 2012

Beastly (2011)

In this modern telling of the classic "Beauty & the Beast" story we have Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) a handsome, rich, and popular kid who decrees that being beautiful is all that counts and runs for the school presidency of the environmental platform because it will look good on his transcripts not because he gives a damn about the environment (This he actual states during his election speech), but that he is popular and good looking so everyone should vote for him. They do and he wins. His victory angers the schools witch (Mary-Kate Olsen) and I don't mean witch with a capital "B" I mean actual curse casting witch. She curses him to look like a Prague-rock DJ (he turns bald, has a few Frankenstein scars, tribal tattoos and what looks like a bad reaction to shellfish) until someone tells him that they love him, and if this doesn't happen by the time the tattoo of a tree on his arm blossoms it will be permanent.

Going to the same school is Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) who is smart and is apparently in this High School as a scholarship student (not sure how that works). She had run across arrogant jerk Kyle at party but even though he is a total douche-bag there is something about him she likes. Lindy is not only smart and beautiful she delivers medicine to the homeless. Sadly her dad became a drug addict when her mother died. When drug dealers demand her father pay what is owed them her dad shoots one of them. The survivor threatens to get even some day by killing Lindy.

Having been turned into a "beast" Kyle's father and hotshot news anchorman moves his son, and now embarrassment, across the river to live in a brownstone with a wise Jamaican housekeeper (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and a blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris). These two fill in for Mr's Potts and Lumiere as they give him tips on how to win the girl. Kyle decides his best shot at love is to stalk Lindy. This pays off when he witnesses Lindy's dad shoot the drug dealer and overhears the threat. So he offers to take Lindy to his mansion to keep her safe. The dad of course refuses because one doesn't turn over one's daughter to the first bald scary dude that offers help. So Kyle uses his cellphone to take pictures of the dad with the dead drug dealer and blackmails the dad into handing over Lindy. True love is in the wings.

Lindy is at first disheartened by these turn of events and pouts in her room while Kyle (now calling himself Hunter so she won't figure out he was the jerk at the party) tries to win her affection with lavish gifts. This fails until the wise housekeeper tells him the gifts must come from the heart and the head. So he buys her a case of Juicy Fruit gum. Her icy exterior begins to crack. Kyle builds a greenhouse on the room. Her icy exterior begins to melt. They read modern poetry together and start to fall in love.

As the "Beast" Kyle has no cool powers, no super strength, and doesn't look near as cool as any previous incarnation of The Beast. Lindy is your stereotypical good girl, though she is pretty she's also kind and smart...and really, really boring. Which pretty much sums up this movie, pretty boring.

I think I'm now due for another viewing of Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast.

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