Science fiction and fantasy
directed by Daniel Barnz
Kyle hides away because he's afraid his former friends won't accept him, and he's shunned by his self-obsessed celebrity father. The only people who come to his apartment at first are Zola (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and Will (Neil Patrick Harris). Zola is a domestic worker who wants a green card so she can see her kids again, whilst Will is Kyle's sharp-tongued tutor. But the new object of Kyle's affection is a smart young woman he barely noticed in his handsomer days, Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). But he despairs at getting her to ever look twice at him in his current state.
The plot moves in a linear and unashamedly obvious way, bringing Kyle and Lindy into each other's lives with some scarcely credible hoodlums and a bit of gun-waving. The roles of the actors in the first part of the movie are crude, they're mere one-dimensional stereotypes. But as the love story develops Kyle learns to be more sensitive, and his character gets a bit more nuanced, although that's not saying much.
For a story about ugliness there's quite a lot of eye candy in Beastly, including a rose motif that leads up to a very pretty montage later in the story. It's a sweet tale about a young man learning to be less superficial, but the sappy tone will put off a lot of people and I think it could have done with more acid. Will is funny, but he doesn't get enough lines, and Kendra is pretty reasonable and unthreatening for a witch.
The story is coherent, and the pace isn't actually very slow. But it's wetter than the Pacific and for that reason it can seem to drag on, especially as it's extremely obvious where the plot is heading and it never deviates from its course. There's even a scene where Will mimes throwing up because of something Kyle says to Lindy. It's an entirely reasonable response to this sugar-coated mush.
19th September 2011
If you like this, try:Beauty And The Beast by Bill Condon
A bookish young woman is taken prisoner in an enchanted castle by a beast. But is he as terrible as he seems?
Warm Bodies by Jonathan Levine
A zombie falls in love with a human. But can he protect her from the dead, and can she stop her father from shooting him, in this story of love across the boundary of life and death?
Beautiful Creatures by Richard LaGravenese
A young man wants to leave his small town, until Lena arrives and brings magic and madness into his life. An adaptation of the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.