Beastly (2011) – He Was Number Four
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. The beautiful people, the beautiful people, it’s all relative to the size of your steeple. We’ve got plenty of cliches to fit our shallow concept of what is beautiful. But there is one thing that is undeniable, and that’s what I applaud this CBS Films production on bringing to the forefront of everyone’s attention:
Embrace the suck.
No, seriously, the movie actually said that. It was early on, in the portion of the film where every line seemed like it was over thought and then over wrought by actors who don’t really know how to act so they’re over compensating. The dialogue eventually gets a bit better as the storyline progresses from pretty ugly heart to ugly ugly heart. No, I don’t believe for an instant that the romance that’s featured is real. At all. Not even one bit. And then there is the fact that in the second and third acts we can’t go five minutes without another montage. It doesn’t help that it doesn’t make a lick of sense that Mrs. Hudgens’ character is unaware that the heinous beast of a hot boy in a cloak resembling Jace the Mindsculptor is not the dickhead she says she likes in the beginning of the movie.
So what keeps Beastly from just capsizing under its whole fakey fairy tale premise? You know, where a boy is made not-that-ugly since he’s still frickin’ ripped? Well, sagely Neal Patrick Harris is brought in to play a blind tutor, though his role is more importantly to show audiences it matters more who you are than what you look like since he can’t see. While that’d normally be a huge offensive negative, NPH not only can act, he brings the wry humor probably no where in the script. He’s just too funny for me to disapprove of!
Oh! There’s also Mary-Kate Olsen who’s vamping it up as Kendra the witch who sets all of this nonsense into motion. No, she’s NOT a good actress, but every moment she was on screen, I couldn’t help but be captivated by just how gawd awful she was. Over the top and completely vain in her own way, it made even less sense why she would put the hex on Mr. Pettyfer.
Beastly is a bad movie. It’s insipid, it’s mind-crushingly offensive, and extremely inept when it comes to the bare bones basics of telling a story. But it’s one of those so bad it’s good type situations where if you’re in the right setting with the right friends, booze, and mood, you’ll actually have fun at its expense.
And isn’t that the whole message anyway?
I do want to point out that unfortunately this film isn’t Beastly Boyz by the genius filmmaker David DeCoteau. That is also mind-crushingly terrible, but only because the nearly naked young men don’t ever really actually DO anything in between silly staged murders.
Queer suggested we ingest this visual version of a Taco Bell XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito and I agreed. After all, I loooove bad movies. However, there was something about Beastly that I couldn’t put my finger on. It’s just soooo… something… I’m looking for a word here.
This modern hip/cool fairy tale starts with our hella popular hero running for school president or greens-keeper or whatever in what appears to be a plush, minimum security prison. On a side note, that’s not a bad idea – intern our kids for a few years while they learn, release them to college. Well, he’s just full of hubris and gets cursed by a less gothic and more high-fashion, runway model type girl. He’s soooo ugly now that his newscaster dad cannot stand to look at him and banishes him to a massive house in NYC to live with his black servant (I KNOW!). He finds the girl of his dreams, coerces her father to sell her to him, and manipulates her to fall in love thus breaking the spell! It’s soooo romantic!
It would be an injustice to call any performances “phoned in” – that might imply that anybody else cared. However, Mary-Kate Olsen totally phoned in her performance. Obviously she owed someone at CBS who wanted to slap another name on the credits besides the over-exposed Alex Pettyfer and D-lister Vanessa Hudgens. Oh right, Neil Patrick Harris showed up at some point in the film. Why, I’ll never know, but I’m assuming he had the same raw deal as Olsen. While they seemed lifeless and uninterested, what I found fascinating was Los Angeles born and raised Lisa Gay Hamilton attempting a Jamaican accent, but coming across as Irish. ”Who stole me lucky charms, mon?” Dreadful. I’m going to call out Joy Ellison right here and now for failing at her job as dialect coach. I’ll bet she doesn’t get many Google hits (I Googled her, she doesn’t), but Joy, here’s one for the scrapbook.
Obviously you don’t watch this movie for the performances, it’s a wholesome kids movie with a heartwarming message – you’ve got to be rich to be happy. While the selfish Kyle had a strange look about him, he still had so much money that he could go out and drop some cash on a brand new Ducati Monster that matched his newly found brooding, bad boy look. We don’t want to forget the perfect bodies either. This movie seriously didn’t even have a token fatty to make the chubby kids feel good about themselves. I can’t tell if the riches = happiness idea is a current trend, but it’s been at the forefront of a number of movies’ central outcomes. In the end, they don’t learn much other than how to love ugly people (seriously, they’re everywhere! You’ve got to find some way to be around them without puking) and still end up filthy rich, which is all that mattered anyway.
CBS apparently was trying to get a jump on the fairy tale trend since Vampires are soooo yesterday and promote some CBS record label artists at the same time. I guess in the end, the word I was looking for was right in front of me – burrito. Time for lunch.
The Fat Man gives this movie: