Beauty and the Beast gets the Twilight treatment in this update that transforms a vain guy (Alex Pettyfer) into a superficially unattractive freak who needs to earn the love of just one person (Vanessa Hudgens) to return back to his normal self.
This retread from writer-director Daniel Barnz seeks to capitalize on the appeal of I Am Number Four star Pettyfer as well as the presence of Mary-Kate Olsen as the bewitching figure out to teach the bad boy a lesson, but the story and its execution fails to catch enough of a spark to deserve to be a TeenNick or Disney television movie event. We have reached the stage now that even younger audiences are proving to be more discriminating in their entertainment choices, although that’s not to say that their tastes have actually evolved yet. But it does mean that they understand the narrative cliches and want more than reheated fairy tales that they might not have been all that familiar with in the first place.
Like most of the new tween projects “inspired” by classic tales and themes, Beastly lacks heart, soul and even crude wit. By the time it finally puts itself out of its misery, it proves to be a true burden of a beast. Grade: D-
Opens March 4. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.