glosses over script’s beau­ti­ful mes­sage

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - BIG SCREEN -

knowl­edge with a script lack­ing any of those qual­i­ties, de­liv­ered by a good-look­ing cast. Seven­teen-year-old Kyle Kings­bury (Alex Pet­tyfer) is the golden boy of high school – hand­some and ath­letic, he ex­ploits his looks to get what and who he wants, re­gard­less of the dev­as­ta­tion. Kyle fool­ishly ig­nores whispers about class­mate Ken­dra (MaryKate Olsen) be­ing a witch and hu­mil­i­ates her in pub­lic. She re­tal­i­ates by rob­bing Kyle of his chis­elled cheek­bones, curs­ing him to look “as ag­gres­sively unattrac­tive out­side as you are in­side” un­less he can find true love in the next 12 months. Con­signed to an apart­ment with blind tu­tor Will (Neil Pa­trick Har­ris) and Ja­maican house­maid Zola (Lisa Gay Hamil­ton) Kyle gives up on life. Then fate throws pretty class­mate Lindy (Vanessa Hud­gens) into his path and her in­no­cence opens Kyle’s eyes to the mis­takes of the past. Beastly re­sets the fa­mil­iar story to present-day New York but lacks the emo­tional punch in the clos­ing frames when Kyle gets the girl and his per­fectly tou­sled blonde locks back. Pet­tyfer is bland, while Hud­gens fails to con­vince us that her im­pos­si­bly car­ing hero­ine would gen­uinely gush, “What hap­pened to ro­mance: sappy, soppy long­hand love let­ters?”

Da­mon Smith FAM­ILY WATCH: No Swearing, No Sex, Vi­o­lence.

Alex Pet­tyfer as a beastly Kyle Kings­bury.

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