The Pretty One Movie Review
There are perks to having a twin, I suppose. You can play practical jokes on unsuspecting strangers. You can share clothes. And if one of you dies, you can assume the role of the sexier, more popular sibling.
I'm a person who can find light in darkness, that's all.
The Pretty One stars Zoe Kazan as a socially awkward young woman who "becomes" her sister, sort of like what happens in Face/Off. Only without the action, face transplants and crazy Nicolas Cage eyes. The movie is mildly entertaining but lacks the hook—beyond the premise—to support a full-length feature.
Kazan is good in the lead, and combined with the efforts of the costume design team, does a superb job of developing two distinct but related characters.
The movie itself is occasionally charming but understated, which works until it doesn't. The first act is strong as writer/director Jenee LaMarque sets up the premise and thrusts her protagonist into several awkward situations, most notably one where she has to attend her one funeral. But after that the movie loses its appeal.
The Pretty One would have been better had LaMarque played up the comedic aspects of the story. The movie didn't need to be laugh-out-loud funny, but the situation is, in many ways, a ludicrous one—the fact that the movie isn't a bit more ludicrous is a problem.
Despite some early situational humor—the realization that no one, including your parents, have much to say about you at your own funeral—LaMarque quickly transforms the movie into a lighthearted drama, complete with a generically uninteresting romance. LaMarque could still have addressed the film's underlying themes while injecting more humor. Not could. Needed to.
The Pretty One has a terrific premise but fails to live up to its potential; as a comedy, it isn't very funny, and as a drama, not a lot happens.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.