The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale gets a glossy 21st-century makeover in Beastly, a teen romantic fantasy starring I Am Number Four hunk Alex Pettyfer and High School Musical’s chirpy sweetheart Vanessa Hudgens.
Pettyfer plays obnoxious New York preppie Kyle, who is happy flaunting his wealth and good looks until he falls foul of Mary-Kate Olsen’s witchy Goth. Unfortunately for Kyle, she really is a witch and puts him under a spell that leaves him bald, scarred and disfigured with a web of tattoos. Naturally, his first instinct is to hide away in the townhouse his rich TV anchorman father buys for him, but he won’t break the curse unless someone says ‘I love you’ to him before the year is out. Could Hudgens’ pretty scholarship girl Lindy be the one to see beyond the scars and tats?
As luck would have it, a very clunky plot contrivance sees them sharing his plush pad, along with Neil Patrick Harris’s droll blind tutor and LisaGay Hamilton’s saintly Jamaican housekeeper. Will Kyle learn his lesson? Will Lindy discover his inner beauty in time? Will the viewer care?
Well, writer-director Daniel Barnz’s movie (based on Alex Flinn’s 2007 novel) certainly doesn’t have any inner depth behind its slick surface, but Harris’s nifty wisecracks, Olsen’s spooky glares and the brisk pacing means that Beastly isn’t quite as hideous as you might imagine.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Lionsgate on 15th August.