The Pretty One DVD Review

     Actors: Zoe Kazan; Ron Livingston; Jake Johnson; John Lynch; Shae D'Lyn
  • Director: Jenée LaMarque
  • Writer: Jenée LaMarque
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: SPE
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
  • Run Time: 95 minutes



            The Pretty One is one good casting choice away from being completely unsalvageable, and surprisingly it isn’t Zoe Kazan. Kazan does a perfectly convincing job playing two different personalities, but that’s not nearly enough to save the film from a horribly over-confident and under-written screenplay from first-time director Jenée LaMarque, who has the obnoxious gall to announce herself as an auteur in the opening credits of her first feature. Had this film been given a rewrite (preferably by a more seasoned screenwriter) and a completely different director, there might have been a chance for the cast to help overcome the distasteful premise.      


            Kazan stars as twins Laurel and Audrey, two sisters who share little other than their looks. Audrey has left their small-town home to become a real estate agent in the city, while Laurel stays home, dressing as their deceased mother and taking care of their father. After an all-too convenient accident leaves Audrey dead and unrecognizable, and Laurel donning an all-new make-over in Audrey’s image which nobody has seen, everyone naturally assumes that it is Laurel who passed in the accident. Laurel takes advantage of this misunderstanding, going to her own funeral and taking over her sister’s life in the city.


            While Laurel is a meek girl with a sudden propensity for habitual lying, we discover that her sister Audrey was little more than a pretentious bitch. While sleeping with her boss’s husband (Ron Livingston) just so long as he has no intentions of anything more than sex, Audrey was also in the process of terrorizing her neighbor and tenant, Basel (Jake Johnson), in an attempt to kick him out. Laurel quickly hits it off with Basel, which leads to the film’s only successful moments, however predictable and cliché they may be. Credit is wholly due to the chemistry between Kazan and Johnson, as well as “The New Girl” star’s ability to make even the most ridiculous material feel believable.


            I’ll admit it; I would pretty much watch anything that Johnson is in. I find his comedic timing to be spot-on, his delivery charming and believable with ease, and he may have single-handedly saved this film for me. Kazan comes alive when given the proper scene partner, as was previously seen in Ruby Sparks. I’m afraid she is destined to play every quirky cute role that comes along, but that may not be such a bad thing if she is paired with more actors like Johnson. 


            The DVD includes a featurette about the visual effects, which seems a bit pointless to me. People having been playing their own twin for a long time in film, and the effects are nothing cutting edge that needed this kind of attention.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10

    Historical Significance:  4/10

    Special Features: 2/10

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