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Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Penelope”

(Summit Entertainment. 1 hour, 41 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements, some innuendo and language. Directed by Mark Palansky.) Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon, James McAvoy, Catherine O’Hara, Peter Dinklage, Richard E. Grant. Music by Joby Talbot.

A modern-day fairy tale produced by Oscar-winning actress Witherspoon, who also plays a small role. Penelope (Ricci) is a young woman, born to wealthy socialites, who suffers from a family curse which results in a facial disfigurement. She spends her life hidden away, then escapes to discover the world outside, and hopefully, true love, as that’s the only way the curse can be broken. Dinklage is an eager tabloid reporter trying to get a photograph of the mysterious Penelope, and McAvoy (also seen in Atonement) is a down-on-his-luck gambler whom Dinklage persuades to pose as a suitor in order to get the story. Whimsy is hard to pull off in this cynical world, and much of Penelope‘s success will depend on the mood you’re in when you watch it. Much also depends on the cast: Ricci is game; Witherspoon’s biker-chick persona doesn’t really work (she’s too ethereal-looking); the Scottish McAvoy’s playing an American so he’s toiling without his accent, and he’s not quite handsome enough to play the potential Prince Charming without it. Quirky-yet-nice score by Talbot (selections heard on tonight’s show). All in all, a not-quite-magical fairy tale.