In Theatres: 
Mar 04, 2011
Running Time: 
95 minutes

Based on the novel by the same name, Beastly is a modern retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Kyle Kingsbury (Alex Pettyfer) has everything he could ever want. He’s rich, successful and good looking. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the biggest bullies you’ll ever meet. After inviting the weird girl of the school to a dance and then ditching her as a prank, a spell is put on Kyle that transforms him into a hideous beast that reflects the person he is on the inside. Now he has a year to find someone who loves him for who he really is or else he will forever remain this way.

If it’s true that beauty is more than just skin deep, then Beastly must be rotten to its core. The film is abundant with problems. Firstly, we never get to know Kyle before his transformation. All we really see are a few scenes of him acting like a major tool, but nothing that shows that he has a heart. His change to being nice, then, has no backing behind it and appears entirely random. Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), the Belle of the film, keeps saying that she always saw the good deep down inside him. She must have been the only one because the film sure didn’t show that at all.

Once transformed, Kyle leads a secluded life in an apartment his dad purchased so he doesn’t have to be around him. In almost an instant four months passed by. There is no clear sense of time. While I enjoyed the aspect of how the tattoo on his wrist changed with the season, it wasn’t enough to give the impression that time was running short.

After those initial four months, that’s when he begins stalking Lindy. I can see the resemblance to keeping Belle locked away in Beast’s castle, although when you do the same in a modern New York setting, it comes off as creepy and implausible. No girl would rightfully concede to go and live with some random stranger, locked away in their apartment. It just wouldn’t happen.

As weak as the story may be, the acting is even worse. There simply is no chemistry between Pettyfer and Hudgens. The whole film is one big joke, and every time they attempt to do something a little more serious, the moment is ruined by some cheesy Disney pop song overlay.

The only noteworthy performance comes from Neil Patrick Harris who plays Will, Kyle’s blind teacher and mentor. He manages to see (pun intended) the humor in any given situation and brings color and film to an otherwise dull film.

There is no fairytale magic in Beastly. On one hand you have the film telling you that it’s the person you are who counts but in the end, it’s beauty that has the last laugh. Kids who see this will only end up leaving the theater confused as to whether they should strive to change who they are or “embrace the suck” as Kyle would say in his campaigning messages. I’ll tell you one thing though; this is one suck that I cannot embrace.

Follow me on Twitter @Majiesto

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook