Review by Gordon Justesen
Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Elisabeth Harnois,
Danny Comden, Michael Hitchcock, Adi Schnall
Director: Marcos Siega
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Sony Home Entertainment
Features: See Review
Length: 110 Minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2005
you hear that? That’s the sound of me not caring.”
There seems to be a
growing trend in films lately, one that has actresses of a young age portraying
characters with the highest level of racy antics. Just a matter of weeks ago,
Anne Hathaway was seen bearing it all in the rather uninspired Havoc.
And now, 18 year old Evan Rachel Wood is going the same route in Pretty
The only difference
between Hathaway and Wood is that the second of the two is no stranger to this
kind of role. A couple of years ago, Ms. Wood startled audiences and critics
alike with her raw and revealing performance in Thirteen. With this film, Wood is playing a character who is even
more vicious and cruel.
But unlike Thirteen,
this film doesn’t really enter the realm of provocative film, and seems to be
mean-spirited just for the sake of being mean spirited. Wood is indeed
fantastic, but after such a knockout performance in the previous film, it
doesn’t break any new ground for her. The movie itself plays like an
uninspired hybrid of Wild Things and Mean Girls.
Wood plays Kimberly
Joyce, a 15 year old high school student who seems to be obsessed with the very
things a girl at 15 shouldn’t be obsessing with. She smokes spot, has sex with
numerous students, and isn’t afraid to verbally abuse her new step mom. Her
father (James Woods) doesn’t seem to mind her eccentric behavior, since he
himself is an obnoxious and hateful fast-talking personality who delights in
telling as many racist jokes as possible during a single dinner.
The central story
of the movie consists of a scheme that Kimberly cooks up with her two closest
friends, Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois) and Randa (Adi Schnall). She intensely
dislikes her English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Ron Livingston), and because she
senses that he has lustful thoughts for many of his female students, Kimberly
plans to accuse him of sexual molestation. Her two friends go along with the
Before long, the
Kimberly’s story garners extreme media attention. She catches the eye of TV
journalist Emily Klein (Jane Krakowski) in more ways than one. And the entire
scandal brings about unexpected twists and tragedies, including a final one that
I will admit made me jump out of my seat.
But we’ve all
been here before. Like I said, it basically takes in elements of Wild
Things and Mean Girls, among other movies, and mixes them to full effect.
Anyone who’s seen either of those much better films won’t be surprised by
much, except maybe the film’s obsession with showing underage teens engaging
in sexual foreplay, as well as seeing how many offensive jokes it can get away
powerhouse cast, Pretty Persuasion
can’t seem to offer anything more than sheer mean-spiritedness in addition to
its been-there-done-that feel.
Sony does a most
outstanding job with this very fine anamorphic handling. The widescreen images
boast frequent shots that do catch the eye, indeed. Image quality is nothing but
clearness, and colors look most amazing, as well.
This is a
dialogue-driven piece, so the 5.1 mix services this film as good as it can. The
dialogue delivery is terrifically clear and crisp, and momentary background
noise finds itself in several areas.
The only feature is
a list of Bonus Trailers for additional Sony titles.