‘Beastly’ (2011) review: ‘Best embrace the suck’

Modern-day remake misses old-time magic

I saw CBS Films’ “Beastly” this weekend (but I’ve been too sick to review it since). And as is the case when someone tries to remake a classic children’s movie that has been around for two decades (one of my favorite Disney movies of all time), it failed. But not so badly that it leaves it a weird taste in your mouth. It just makes you wonder why the director deemed it necessary to try in the first place.

“Beastly” follows the story of Kyle (Alex Pettyfer, “I Am Number Four”), an egotistical New York City high school students whose good looks have gotten him far in life, despite his lack of social graces or humility or decency. Long story short, he pisses off the wrong gothic witch, Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), who tends curses him to look as ghastly on the outside as he does on the inside. It’s quite the trick. In order for him to regain his looks, he has to find someone who will love him for who he is, not how he looks. After turning into “the lead of a slasher flick,” Kyle is sequestered in Brooklyn, where he forges friendships with his housekeeper (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and his blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Meet Your Mother”). After being cloistered for some time, Kyle runs into a girl he knew from high school, Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens, “High School Musical”), and rescues her from a crazed drug dealer. In order to protect her, though, he has to take her to live in his apartment. As in the original story, they soon start to develop a relationship, one of which neither anticipated.

Overall, the movie was cute, but this rendition just didn’t live up to the classic. Hudgens tried too hard, Pettyfer didn’t try hard enough and Harris didn’t get a big enough part. Now I’m going to watch the original.

Two “Haven’t we seen this before?” stars out of five.

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2 responses to “‘Beastly’ (2011) review: ‘Best embrace the suck’

  1. Maybe the people who review this film should read the book “beastly” before they review the film. Everybody is reviewing beastly in light of beauty and the beast and yet the film is based on the newer book rather than the original story, and in fact they altered some areas so they were a little less disturbing. Such as lindys dad breaking into the already built rose garden of a much bigger house, and stealing the roses, where the beast catches him and demands that he send his daughter here, or else. Where as they did a very good attempt of altering the story for modern day, because the novel was written for a fair few years back so things like mobile phones wouldn’t have been quite so handy. It’s not like he can really confiscate her phone off her. I loved the film, and people need to stop comparing it to disney.

    • I understand where you are coming from, considering I have never read Alex Flinn’s “Beastly.” But isn’t it also fair to say that her book was based on “Beauty and the Beast,” which would the movie, based on the book, would be based on the original story? Personally (outside of a critic’s role), I really liked the movie. I thought it was cute, and I’ve always like “Beauty and the Beast.” But no matter how fresh it wants to be, or by changing the perspective to that of the Beast, it’s still just a different way of telling the same story. It’s really just splitting hairs at that point.
      -Dominic

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