Who's In It: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Peter Krause, Lisa Gay Hamilton
The Basics: Tonight's very special Beauty and The Beast-themed episode of Gossip Girl has been brought to you by Footlocker, Twilight and Jujyfruits candy and has been freely adapted to update the Beast's main problem from mere cruelty and selfishness--character traits hardly considered moral flaws anymore--to something totally worse: looksism. To that end, the film begins with shots of a variety of attractive, advertising model nipples and never wavers in its commitment to being pap. Worse, that singing teapot never shows up.
What's The Deal: When you follow in the footsteps of one of Disney's most beloved animated classics and, in turn, in the path of one of Jean Cocteau's greatest films, you know going in that nothing you do is ever going to be favorably mentioned in the same breath. You might rise to the level of that Beauty and the Beast TV show that was on in the '80s. But, then again, you might not do that either. So it's not really a big deal if your characters woo each other with boxes of product placement-y, why-not-go-buy-some-right-NOW movie theater snacks. Nor is it problematic when characters call each other "fattycakes" and say stuff like "embrace the suck." Because nothing matters anymore. You're free. Maybe the next time they tell this story it'll star the cast of Jersey Shore and The Garbage Pail Kids. Why shouldn't it?
Olsen Twin Breakout Performance Alert: The shining entertainment light of this entire film is Mary-Kate Olsen (no, I'm not being facetious) as the witch who casts the ugliness spell on Alex Pettyfer. She has maybe half a dozen scenes, all of them wearing haute goth fashion queen outfits you'd be forgiven for believing she selected from her own closet. She also seems to be the only person having a good time. By her third screen appearance your allegiance will permanently attach to her and you'll spend the rest of the movie hoping she'll show up, evaporate the main characters and go off and hijack the plot into being about a vengeful teen hex-making machine.
When To Go To the Bathroom: Anytime Neil Patrick Harris shows up as the blind tutor whose job it is to knock some culture and sensitivity into Pettyfer's scarred skull. That's because, as a competent actor, he can't compete with the scene where Vanessa Hudgens generously delivers sandwiches to homeless people or the one where she and Pettyfer engage in a confusing and pointless conversation about Korean-language TV shows or, best-worst of all, the part where Pettyfer tells her he loves her as a song blares on the soundtrack whose lyrics are, not making this up, "I'M FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU... I'M FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU." Thanks for turning my brain into raspberry jam, movie.