glosses over script’s beautiful message
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.