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Pretty Persuasion
5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Marcos Siega

Written By:
Skander Halim

Evan Rachel Wood, David Wagner, Brent Goldberg, Elisabeth Harnois, Stark Sands, Jane Krakowski, Michael Hitchcock, Danny Comden, Jaime King, Josh Zuckerman, James Snyder, Ron Livingston, Cody McMains, Mike Erwin, James Woods, Selma Blair, Johnny Lewis, Lisa Arturo, Alex Désert, Tina Holmes, Perry Hayes, Clyde Kusatsu, Robert Joy, Navid Negahban, Octavia Spencer, Angelo Spizzirri, Jessica Landon, Michael Kozak, Julie Wittner, Shanna Olson, Christopher Thornton, Alexis Krause, Ira David Wood IV, David C. Taylor, Deprece Reddick, Aydiee Vaughn, Harley, Monty Buckles, Jake Hanover, Amber Matthews, Daniel A. Ortiz, Adi Schnall, Veena Bidasha, Tim Coston

Pretty Persuasion (2005)
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Movie Review by Tony
March 31st, 2006

Evan Rachel Wood sure is nice to look at. Her on the cover of a DVD in a school girls outfit was more then enough needed for me to rent this Indy film. Also along for this Indy ride is James Woods, Selma Blair, and Ron Livingston. We have a lot of talent here for this film, then I checked out the director. His name is Marcos Seiga, who also directed the HORRIBLE "Underclassmen", from the summer. He does not redeem himself here with a film called "Pretty Persuasion".

Evan Rachel Wood from "Thirteen" plays Kimberly Joyce, a student at an exclusive Beverly Hills high school, who is attractive, young, but very manipulative. Her father is rich but also very obscene, he's played by James Woods. He sits around in his underwear, eats Chinese food, and rallies off racial slurs. To say, he's not much of a father figure is an understatement. She also has a best friend Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois), who I think I might have a big crush on. Lastly, she has a friend who she uses and abuses named Randa (Adi Schnall). Who I have a semi-crush on.

They have an English teacher played by Ron Livingston. He enjoys the young girls very much, which Evan knows, but he never acts out on it, due to losing his job and sexual harassment. But that does not stop him from having his wife Selma Blair dress up in a school girls outfit and spank her like she stole something. Very naughty. He gets into it with all three girls. With Randa, over not doing well in English class. Kimberly for talking in class too much, and Brittany for not doing well in the play.

Kimberly being the evil genius she is decides they should plot together to get back at the teacher. They go on trail with help from a lesbian reporter to claim the teacher sexually harassed all of them. She figures it will be good press for her acting career, as she wants to be an actress. And while I'm sure the teacher has thought about sexually harassing them, he never actually did it. This is taken to trial.

This could have been played two ways and been a success. As a dark, sexy comedy mostly played for laughs. But number 1, it has to be funny. This film is not funny. I feel as if the director and crew sat around using jokes they found funny, but no one else did. Racial slurs, lesbian comments, and other remarks. For me, I did not laugh. It felt like high school humor. Number 2, it's not sexy. It does not push any envelopes or comment on any key issues in new or creative ways.

It could have also been played as a heavy drama in the way of "Cruel Intentions". But it gets heavy towards the last 10-15 minutes of the film, but it's too little, too late. It does not work. The performances are effective, the twist at the end surprised me, and Evan Rachel Wood is an actress to look out for. But this film has no pattern or direction. It does not know what it wants to be. It suffers from identity crisis.

-Tony Farinella

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