Alex "I Am Number Four" Pettyfer stars as Kyle - the vain, blonde haired , egotistical high school boy who seems to be the heir apparent to The Amazingly Shirtless Matthew McConaughey as he opens the movie by working out in his tiny, tight boxer briefs (that had the theater of 13-year old girls screaming out in an ecstasy that should put fear in their fathers' hearts). The young stud muffin makes no bones about his feelings regarding the superiority of the beautiful over the rest of us, and one fellow student is sick of it.
Self-professed witch and target of Kyle's evil barbs, Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), puts a spell on the under aged beefcake (does that make him a vealcake?) and turns him into a tattooed, scarred, boil faced less than model-looking dude. If he can't find one lady in one year who will profess her love to him, he will stay this repulsive.
Will Kyle be able to grow on the inside?
Is there any depth to this pretty boy?
Do the girls in the audience even care?
If it wasn't for Neil Patrick Harris, I might have found myself running from the theater screaming in agony and praying for sweet sweet death.
I'm not a 13-year old girl, so I couldn't care less about Pettyfer's six-pack abs, so, unfortunately for him, I was focused on what a horrible actor he is with some of the klunkiest, most ridiculous dialogue I have ever heard in a movie.
Writer/director Daniel Barnz (based on the novel by Alex Flinn) has never heard of subtlety and certainly would never let it get in the way of the most obvious, nasty lines to ever spew forth from anyone's mouth. Barnz makes sure Kyle spews the kind of talk about a superior race that would make him a modern day Nazi with better hair, which makes his future transformation completely unbelievable and emotionless.
Thankfully, the cast is more hit or miss than complete fail. Vanessa Hudgens, who plays the nerdy girl who captures Kyle's attention (she might be a nerd, but she's still gorgeous, which doesn't do too much to reinforce the supposed theme that what is on the inside is more important than the outside), proves to be more pretty face than capable actress. She comes off very one note with little ability to emote beyond flashing a smile.
Harris is charming and mischievous in ways that makes him come off twenty times better than the material and leaving me wishing he could have been in more of the film. He almost kept my attention with comic relief and some Yoda-like mentoring that we could use more of.
Yet, my biggest complaint, without giving away the ending, is the ending! Barnz steps all over the message. Instead of us looking at people for who they are, our writer/director wants us to believe it is better that they develop a bit of heart and soul to go along with the six-pack abs, and wants to "fix" characters instead of letting them be.
1 Waffle (Out of 4)
Beastly is rated PG-13 for language including crude comments, brief violence and some thematic material.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun