“Embrace the Suck…Beautiful People get it better”
“Green is Good”.
These are just some of the tiresome and lame quotes I have lifted from the movie BEASTLY, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens. A film based on the age old Walt Disney Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont (which in turn is the best known variant of an older version) tale Beauty and the Beast.
In this made for TV straight to DVD style production, Pettyfer takes on the role of the beautiful young man, who has it all superficially but is ugly underneath.
Mary Kate Olson plays a witch who is also his peer (MK – you can no longer pass yourself off as an 18 year old. Nor should you want to) who casts the spell on Pettyfer’s beastly character after he humiliates (and rather lamely in teenage movie terms may I add) her at his victory ‘Green Party’ party. Did I mention that the political subtext if that’s even what it is, more like crap and unnecessary subtext to give the story more depth and relevance to the now is utter bullshit? Teens give a damn, well they do, but and this movie only serves to contradict if not highlight that they indeed don’t care, by creating a meaningless introduction to link all characters via a very brief and bizarre election campaign.
I get that they’re trying to rehash an already over done but there’s other ways. Other, more plausible ways.
Anyway the ‘witch’ hexes him with a series of what I can only describe as Hispanic gangster tattoos, one of a tree which in true Harry Potter style blooms and withers over the time period he has to discover the true meaning of ‘Love’…like the rose in that oh so great Disney adaptation.
His music producer – mould of everything-that-is-vile-in-our-superficial-fame-and-riches-obsessed world- Father (a miscast if not misguided Peter Krause, so sad…) buys his son an apartment…across from Manhattan (booo to the bad dad), where his once beautiful son can live with the Black maid, complete with an awful West Indian accent (and probably this films answer to Mrs. Potts) and a blind tutor in the form of Doogie *he’s a gay now* Howser Neil Patrick Harris. Ugh.
Cut to a tiresome montage of apologetic emails from ‘Dad’ – we get it, your dad is a heartless vain epitome of what’s wrong with the world. Fast track 5 months (WTF?) it’s Halloween and this Beast, now going by the name …Hunter…is heading out to party. Obviously people think he’s in costume because he’s so hideous. Unfortunately for him he overhears his old friends and girlfriend saying it’s a relief that they’re cruel front-man is gone, then they make out. It’s all very Victorian.
What irked me was the moment Lindy (Hudgens) excused and praised the former Hunter’s (nee Kyle) beast-like exploits as a “shot at life” calling things as he saw them and her respect for it. What a knob. Then the movie takes on a slightly creepy approach when he starts stalking Vanessa Hudgens. Seriously, I get he’s falling for her, but its still creepy. Especially when it’s done in slow motion.
He’s later told by Neil Patrick Harris, who I guess at this point can be placed under Jerry Orbach’s Lumiere and David Ogden Stiers’ Cogsworth, that it’s not about how you look to others but how one views themselves that counts. Bull shit.
Chapter two and beastly Hunter is still stalking Lindy. He stalks her all the way to a domestic she’s having with her junkie father and his dealers. In short he rescues Lindy and bargains with her father to keep her safe in his personal castle, away from the brother of now one dead dealer who promises a life for life tag on Lindy (a threat and promise of an adventurous twist, which sadly never materializes). So we ensue with the similar comedy love hate relationship between Belle and the Beast when she refuses to comply with his advances to make her happy. Obviously he eventually wears her down like a Stockholm Syndrome Victim and the pair become friends… with benefits… Jokes, no they don’t have sexual relations, shut up this is a kidult movie.
Unlike Disney’s Belle, Lindy’s father doesn’t get lost in the frostbiting snow in the woods before being captured by the locals and locked up for being a crazy old man. He OD’s instead and she has to go back to him. At this point the blind Lumiere and Black Mrs. Potts are starting to grate alas Hunter kicks his toned pert little arse in to gear to go after her and profess his love in front of the judgmental eyes of his school peers to and tell Lindy he loves her. Just when you forget the point of this film is that he needs her to say “I love you” in order for him to look pretty again before the roses on the moving tree on his magic arm withers, she confesses her love and he regains his hair.
Oh and I forgot to mention that to her this all a surprise. Because he’s been masquerading as Hunter not as himself all this time, but hey, Kyle’s what she always wanted so that’s a bonus! And we’re all happy because the producers have managed to rehash an already butchered storyline using an over exposed (literally) young actress and jumping on the bankability of this Young Englishmen in Hollywood craze that’s currently happening.
The problem – as if I haven’t highlighted it above – is that Pettyfer still looks beautiful, although the core meaning goes beyond looks and also looks to explore the characters inner beauty, or lack there of, this film is just so weak. He’s never truly beastly looking, kid has a killer jaw line and ripped torso which is exposed more often than not and his character is never truly hideous – he’s just a petulant child with a bad attitude and you’d rather not spend anymore time with him than one needs to.
Pettyfer is good when it comes to playing arrogant rich kid but beyond that he’s still not likable. I tried and he failed. Vanessa Hudgens on the other hand, I’m passive. She actually doesn’t suck in this movie, in fact it’s the best thing she’s done since her debut turn in Thunderbirds. Kidding, everyone knows she did good in HSM.
But I leave you with this “People like people who look good” and “Best embrace the suck” Seriously, what does that even mean?
Stick to Disney people. At least it had dancing kitchen appliances in it.
**the gay Doogie Howser comment is lifted from Hangover 2. Made me laugh such is the example of my humour.