Monday, July 28, 2008

Penelope (Mark Palansky, 2008) C

Everything about Mark Palansky's modern day fairytale Penelope, especially coming after the enormous success of Enchanted, seems unbearably average and ordinary. The film isn't bad per se-- the story is appropriately simple and child-like, the actors got their respective jobs done and received their paychecks, the special effects are Tim Burton-lite-- but is so inoffensive in it's refusal to take a point of view. The advertisements for Penelope really ruined whatever surprise the film had in story by showing Ricci's pig nose, but director Palansky does an even worse job of leading up to it. The unnecessary narration from Ricci reveals that she has a pig nose and then expects us to act surprised when it is shown a couple of scenes later. Ricci and dreamboat James McAvoy are merely adequate as the two lovers while Reese Witherspoon, whose tiny role really only amounts to nothing more than a cameo, is clearly having fun playing this fast-talking, "bad girl," but the miscasting is too obvious to even take seriously and Witherspoon just can't let loose and have fun. There's a short scene between her and the bar owner at Penelope's wedding when they're apparently supposed to be improvising about how they think the wedding is supposed to go down that plays really awkwardly because Witherspoon just can't get in the silliness.

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