By: Oberst von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Kyle Kingston (Alex Pettyfer) is egocentric, vain, selfishly image driven, and worst of all he is…
Really ridiculously good looking.
He makes no bones about it, as the film opens with him giving a speech where he tells his high school class to vote for him for those same reasons.He eventually goes too far at a party, embarrassing Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), the Goth chick who just happens to be a witch.She puts a curse on Kyle, a curse that makes him ugly, and if he doesn’t find true love in the next year, he will stay that way forever.So basically, this is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast for teenagers.
Neil Patrick Harris plays Kyle’s blind tutor, and he once again reminds us why he’s so awesome.That is really about it, though.
Ironically, Kyle Kingston’s campaign slogan is “Don’t Embrace the Suck”, (referring to his fellow candidates) which acts as a very fair commentary on the film itself.However, we here at Movie Boozer disagree with this mantra.If a movie is determined to be terrible, it is often best to embrace the suck, and allow it to envelope you.
That said, the first thing you’ll notice about this film is the script, which is quick and witty (at least in the mind of the screenwriter). It obviously takes a page from films such as The Social Network, where people don’t so much speak as deliver clever quips at 95 mph.The difference here is that these lines are delivered from actors like Alex Pettyfer, who could be replaced with a pet rock and be twice as convincing.
For most of the movie, his line delivery is akin to Hayden Christensen’s from the Star Wars prequels.While Hayden had the excuse of having to deal with George Lucas’ tragically inhuman script, Alex Pettyfer actually had above-average, sometimes even clever dialog (for a teen romance movie) to read, and read it he does.That is about all he does with it though.
Take a drink for the sub-par direction of Daniel Barnz.The movie is produced by the fairly new film subsidiary of CBS Television, CBS Films.And the television influence is felt in the mood and feel of the production, which seems like something you’d see on the WB in the mid to late 90s.Few and far between are moments that remind the viewer they’re watching a movie.And worst of all is it’s been done before…
I needed a swig of whiskey to get by the rather disturbing attitude the film takes to the courting process.Kyle’s way of finding true love consists of tracking her every move on the internet, and following her on the streets at night.And when he spots an opportunity to step into her life, he does so by blackmailing her drug-addled father into letting him kidnap her.What follows is a second act that features him creepily spying on her in her room, and giving gifts of Jujyfruits.
It is clear the filmmakers wanted this to be a satire of upper-class vanity; too bad they missed so many opportunities that would have cemented this theme.One scene in particular, where Kyle comes home from school to have a non conversation with his rich father (who is so tied to his Bluetooth that you can never tell if he’s responding to his son, or the douche nozzle on the other end of the line) works particularly well in its skewering of the disconnect these characters have from real social interaction.
If it was delivered from a more convincing actor, the speech the film opens with could also have been darkly humorous.Instead what we have is a Jock who manages to be unlikable in just about every way.It gives the audience no reason to feel empathy for his situation, and his transition to the tattooed whining Emo kid is all the more distracting.
Rounding out the evening is a beer dedicated to the human factor, meaning the lack of it in this film.Kyle’s manages to be the most popular guy in school from looks alone; I guarantee you that if anybody delivered a speech as dickish as his would have been booed off the stage.Because it is entirely possible that the majority of the private academy he attends is made up of like-minded feebs, I won’t even count that against the movie.However, he manages to be cruel to just about everyone, and get a positive reaction (sans the witch).
For instance, when he is mugging for the camera, the women nearby can’t help but be attracted to his… mean-spirited insults? How about the fact that his maid manages to still care about him, even when he cruelly mistreats her?Even when he makes fun of her Jamaican heritage, ripping into her for not being a good mother because she couldn’t get her children a green card?Worst of all is how quickly the girl he stalks manages to go from “terrified of the probable rapist” mode to “Oh, he’s so sensitive”.People do not act this way, except in trashy teenage romance…
Only in a chemically altered state would I consider “embracing the suck” once more.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for each tedious montage
Down a shot: whenever the words “beautiful” and “ugly” are used
Take a Drink: whenever Mary Kate Olsen does an Emo Dance