Everyone knows the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. Or, at least, the Disney version. The handsome prince is cruel on the inside, and the witch puts a curse on him to turn him into a monster until he can find true love or remain a beast forever. Now, throw in Twilight, a beast with a six-pack, and the horrors of being a teenager in high school and you have a bad remake in Beastly.
The beast takes center stage as Kyle Kingsley, portrayed by Alex Pettyfer, who brags about his good looks and his hot-shot news anchor dad while tearing apart everyone around him. Even though he practically wears a sign around his neck that says “I am an asshole, stay away!” he catches the eye of Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), the supposedly nerdy misfit in the school of pretty people who is just a little too gorgeous to pull off the outcast role. For some unknown reason, before he changes into a beast, she deeply believes that there is something special inside the bad boy.
At the school dance he decides to humiliate the true outcast in the school, the Goth witch Kendra, played by Mary- Kate Olsen, who curses him and turns him into a scarred, but still interestingly attractive, beast. She does not turn him into a furry monster or something unrecognizable; instead he gets to keep his six-pack, and, other than losing his hair, really is not that worse for the wear.
When Pettyfer and Hudgens end up living in the same house, their relationship falls flat. The two have little to no chemistry, with all of their relationship scenes relying on one-liners that often do not hit home. Hudgens felt replaceable; I would not have noticed if they had suddenly changed the bad 20-something female actor halfway through (unless the second one actually had depth). Pettyfer actually grew a bit through the movie as his character developed in a way that was actually believable. His personality grew, and his character showed appropriate development; nothing seemed too forced. He has the potential to make decent movies in the future, if only he would escape the young adult bad-drama scene.
The movie was not a total loss, however; Neil Patrick Harris saved the day with his role as Pettyfer’s blind tutor. There was obvious chemistry between him and Pettyfer – not in the romantic way, but the two of them bounced off of each other in a way that gave the movie life where the plot and dialogue fell flat.
Harris stole the show without seeming to mean to and he delivered his lines with enough attitude to make them believable and amusing rather than dull and boring.
Do I need to stop crossing my fingers for a decent young adult supernatural romance movie? Apparently, yes. Twilight appeared to be the beginning of a long and ugly friendship between Hollywood and teenage girls who do not know how to pick up a book.