Directed by: Daniel Barnz (Phoebe in Wonderland)
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Peter Krause
Beastly certainly is. On a sliding scale, it’s marginally less interesting than vacuuming out your car, and considerably less useful. As the third film (at least in terms of release) from CBS films, it thoroughly solidifies the fact that CBS Films’ head is firmly lodged up its cathode ray tube. Every flaccid flop they’ve foisted on filmgoers has felt like a TV movie—and I don’t mean some classy Brit import. I’m talking early 1970s ABC Movie of the Week. Whatever slight good will Alex Pettyfer earned from me for I Am Number Four (mostly for not being Robert Pattinson) has drifted away on the ripples of his six-pack abs.
Look, this is nothing but a lame variant on Beauty and the Beast aimed at hormonal girls. Period. That’s all there is, there ain’t no more. Pettyfer plays Kyle, a relentlessly “look at me, I’m wonderful” high school anus—of the raving variety—who has the bad judgment to cheese creepy goth girl Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen looking like a space alien) to the point that she curses him by changing his Tiger Beat looks into carefully art-directed ugliness. His only hope is to find someone who loves him for himself in a year or else be stuck like this for life. Fortunately, he may have a father (Peter Krause) even shallower than himself, but he has a devoted, long-suffering housekeeper (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and gains a worldly-wise blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris) to help get him through.
Even more fortunately, there’s high-school heartthrobette Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), who had a “thing” for bad boy Kyle, amazingly can’t recognize his voice in his new incarnation as “Hunter,” and doesn’t even much mind that he essentially kidnaps her and installs her in his attic. How will it all work out? Let’s face it, if you care in the least, you got pissed off in the first paragraph and never made it this far, and if you made it this far you weren’t considering sitting through this drivel in the first place. Rated PG-13 for language including crude comments, brief violence and some thematic material.