From the moment it starts, this movie has a certain modern rhythm to it. After all, it is an old tale a bit more twisted than usual. And it starts out sleek with one of NYC's best schools for success.
The movie takes the 'beast' point of view. We've heard what Belle went through from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Plunged into the main character's life is Kyle played by that wonderfully arrogant Alex Pettyfer (who you might have seen previously in I AM NUMBER FOUR) as the rich popular guy who would love to rule the school. And of course, only wants to be with the beautiful people. He's even running to be president of something he knows nothing about. He doesn't have to. But some people just won't take his rudeness nor his thunder. Kendra(a very cool Mary-Kate Olsen) is the bewitching magical shadow who soon makes him realize what he has can be taken away when he ditches her and makes fun of her at one his big party events. However, he shows a glimmer of hope of a real human being when he makes contact with Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) who has been practically by his side all this time but he never noticed.
So it isn't long until Kyle goes through his transformation of ugliness and Kendra gives him the ultimatum. If he can't find one to love him in a year (true love), he'll be tattooed this way for life. Of course, rather predictable. Right?
Thankfully, he has the help of wonderful Neil Patrick-Harris as his blind tutor. With just a little bit of clever dialogue Harris' character is a scene stealer. Really, he gives a terrific performance. Lisa Gay Hamilton as Zola the housekeeper is remarkable in her role too.
With great writing and a wonderful cast, this is a movie worth your while. I love the soundtrack. So many beautiful songs from Lady Gaga, Regina Spektor to Death Cab for Cutie. The music kept the story going. Although, I'm not a big Vanessa Hudgens fan, I think Alex has that ability to make her sweet and sincerity bankable. I really thought he brought the character to life. There is that grownup on the outside, yet a little boy on the inside trying to figure out how to make love and life work. Pettyfer succeeded in that.
Also you learn in Kyle's homelife that the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree when you meet his father Rob (Peter Krause from NBC's Parenthood). His Dad is quite a me person too.
STORYLINE: A modern-day take on the "Beauty and the Beast" tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love. Based on a book written by Alex Finn. Screenplay written by Daniel Barnz who also directed the film.