February 25, 2008 by  

Penelope


Penelope

Christina Ricci covers up for a day out as the title character in "Penelope."

Starring: Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Catherine O’Hara
Directed by: Mark Palansky (debut)
Written by: Leslie Caveny (debut)

Beauty is in the eye of the be…Ah, who are we kidding? If you’re born with the face of a pig (unless your name is Babe), chances are you’re probably not going to be lucky in love.

So is the case for Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci), a young woman who was born with swine-like features because of a curse that was cast on her wealthy family generations ago. Because of her snout and piggy ears, Penelope can’t seem to find a husband despite her high-strung mother (Catherine O’Hara) bringing gentleman callers to their home every night.

Her best chance at happiness comes in the form of Max (James McAvoy), a young man with a gambling problem who is smitten with Penelope’s charming personality. Still, Penelope has never been outside of her home and wants to find independence on her own. But with a cruel world out there, and a pool of reporters hoping to get the first photo of her (one is played by Peter Dinklage of the brilliant “The Station Agent”), can Penelope find her way around the real world without people noticing her unique façade before they know the girl inside?

It’s “Beauty and the Beast” vice versa in this awkwardly written and flat romantic comedy. No real chemistry is evident between Ricci and McAvoy and a needless cameo by Reese Witherspoon is thrown in to give more firepower to an already lackluster idea on female empowerment.

Grade: C-

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