“Beastly”: That’s Just What it is

Hollywood has done it again, they’ve created yet another angsty teenage romance film that everyone will love to hate.

“Beastly” is a modern day take on the beloved classic “Beauty and the Beast.”  Sadly, if you are looking for a remake that matches the beauty and greatness of the Disney animated classic, look somewhere else.  This film’s every aspect was unforgivable, with only a few exceptions.

Set in upscale Manhattan, “Beastly” follows the story of Kyle Kingson, played by Alex Pettyfer (from “I Am Number Four”), a pretty-boy high school student who only cares about appearances. His over-the-top ego and downright cruel personality makes him the target for Kendra, the school’s witch, played by Mary-Kate Olsen, who casts a spell on him when he invites her to a dance, only to poke fun at her in front of the whole school.  She subsequently transforms his outer appearance to mirror the ugliness inside of him.

Kyle has one year to make someone fall in love with him, otherwise the Beast will be his eternity. The only person who might be able to help Kyle is Lindy, played by Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”), who can see beyond looks and into a person’s heart.

The aspects of the classic tale of “Beauty and the Beast” are too few in number in this remake. The story is confusing, the chemistry and love between the main characters is forced, and the acting is downright deplorable. Director Daniel Barnz has put together a sloppy and rushed remake of a classic that actually had a huge potential for greatness.

Even though this movie was a complete shortfall, there were a few things that made the one hour and 35 minutes bearable. One upside was the addition of Neil Patrick Harris, who plays a blind man hired by Kyle’s father to tutor him. Being blind allows Harris’ character to teach him how to look past his deformity. He has some clever lines to deliver and he does it well, and was a great comic relief from the excruciating acting of Hudgens.

Moreover, the best thing about this movie has to be the performance of Mary-Kate Olsen.  Love her or hate her, she can actually act and she does so amazingly in her role as Kendra, the goth girl who turns out to be a witch with actual powers.

Kendra’s costumes are over-the-top and hilarious. They truly make you laugh and add a great deal of joy to this bad film. Her lines are entertainingly funny and creepy at the same time. Mary-Kate truly delivers and was the only reason to stay in the movie theater. The best scenes in the movie are the ones with Mary-Kate in them; the scene where Kendra and Kyle have their stand-off suddenly makes the film seem watchable from the start.

The film is meant to take place in modern time. However, parts of the classic story don’t fit well in this modern-day take. It causes confusion and makes the story more and more unbearable.

Pettyfer’s acting along with Hudgens’ is absolutely horrible — it’s downright beastly. The two main characters have no onscreen chemistry; their lines are not only corny but forced. Pettyfer is a pretty boy in real life and this makes it hard for him to play the beast. Pettyfer’s acting kills any hopes one may have for the film.

“Beastly” was made for teenage girls to enjoy. The casting and the plotline were clearly designed to appeal to a demographic that has already gotten hooked on “Twilight.” It’s sad to see an excellent idea and story with so much potential be wasted on a movie like this.  “Beauty and the Beast” deserves justice in film and this movie was far from it.

Rating: 2/5 Stars