Dave White
Penelope Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

… raspberry-filled and covered in gooey ganache.

Who's in It: Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon, Catherine O'Hara, Peter Dinklage, Richard E. Grant

The Basics: Ricci is a cloistered aristocrat with a pig's snout for a nose. She's cursed until someone loves her for her inner beauty. But then, as you might guess, all it really takes is for "the Greatest Love of All" to truly transform her into the hot number you already know she is.

What's the Deal? You know what you're in for when a live-action movie opens with "Once upon a time … " and Big Fish-meets-Beetlejuice set design, boldly announcing its own over-the-top whimsy. That's probably why it took them two years to figure out how to release and market it (hint: middle-school girls, this one's for you). You don't get to go, "Hey, that can't happen." You kind of even have to buy that people think Ricci with a Miss Piggy nose is so scary to look at that guys would throw themselves out a window to get away from her. I mean, I just watched a man with — no lie — blue skin on Oprah the other day, and he found someone to marry him. Ricci with a cute little turned-up schnozz isn't going to have that much actual trouble.

How You Know the Ending Before You Even See It: Because all fairytales now are about loving yourself. Back in the day, when your great-grandparents were kids, they were all about obeying or you'd be killed by rocks falling from the sky or boiled alive by a witch and eaten for dinner. Now it's about your precious self-esteem. Some call that progress, I call it a woeful deficit of stories about people being boiled alive by witches.

Underused MVPs: Grant and O'Hara, as Penelope's parents, don't have a whole heck of a lot to do. I'm guessing they were edited out. Meanwhile, Witherspoon is in the film for about as long as you see her in the trailer.

For Fans Of: Amélie if it were directed by Tim Burton and then washed clean for the Disney Channel. If this movie were a cake, it would be raspberry-filled and covered in gooey ganache.

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