“Penelope” Has a Hidden Talent

Genres: Art/Foreign, Comedy, Drama and Science Fiction/Fantasy
Running Time:
1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date:
February 29th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating:
PG for thematic elements, some innuendo and language.
Summit Entertainment, LLC

Directed by: Mark Palansky

JJ Rating: B+

Penelope (Christina Ricci) is a Wilhern and the Whilherns had a bad magical spell of a past that sort of played an evil trick on her present state of being. Her parents, or really parent, have tried to protect her from the world around and their adverse judgment of what is different. Penelope just wants to live. Overprotection is not even close to what her mother, Jessica Wilhern (Catherine O’Hara), has accomplished. Penelope.

I made a dreadful mistake and went to the wrong theater to see the movie I wanted to see. After having to be stared at like an idiot for saying a name of a movie the ticket girl did not recognized I went with my FAR second choice of Penelope. Why would it be my far second choice? I don’t know it could have to do with the fact that when I did go in to see it I was the only male in that theater. Did it relieve me of the weird feeling when I saw another male walk in? No, because he actually had a date; I was alone. Yeah.

Apparently it was not all that bad because I gave it a B+. That’s because I found the silver lining that had me ignore the mouthy little 8 year olds that sat next to me. I could have gagged them with some form of sweaty socks (probably their own) if it were not frowned upon by the others around me; let along their mothers.

Part of the silver lining was the cast. I really like the cast. I was not shocked to see them perform fantastically. Christina Ricci is charming even though she has a physical malady that would really hinder one’s charms. She is ever the beautiful girl and her witty banter with James McAvoy (who plays the love interest) was all the good a relationship on the screen needs. Peter Dinklage, played Lemon the persistent photographer, went from aggressive revenge with anger to a soft hearted romantic; and he did so with sincerity. Reese Witherspoon arrives late in the film but her presence was not hidden. She busted on to the screen with energy and flair and that is how she remained every time her character returned. She’s black and white good. Catherine O’Hara is fun. I love her. She plays the overbearing mother with such familiarity one could think she could be one in real life. Plus her wanting to do good but flat out doing wrong is pulled off because she conveys total ignorance to what wrong she had preformed.

The other part of the silver lining was the storyline. It can be playing off of the internet dating life of now with all the sites where one doesn’t see the person they are liking right in front of their face. They have to trust the picture and that it’s who they are talking to. The words that are dancing across the screen wrap the reader into a personality that they fall head over heels for, but upon seeing them it could change everything drastically. Penelope is similar to that and also similar to people who hide something because they are afraid of people’s reactions. It could be a list of anything that they want to hide ‘knowing’ that the person they love couldn’t understand and therefore sharing the broken part of them is out of the question.

What had me laughing is that I was in a theater full of females and there were some that were going aww or gasping at what was done to Penelope in the film. I even rolled my eyes. If these people saw her they would not be as kind to her as their awws and gasps would trick. They would be just as harsh if not hasher to her for how she looks because females are more catty and concerned with physical appearance more so than males. If there were sincerity of heart I would have heard it. It would be nice if people would be as loving as their movie gasping, but I’ve seen how that doesn’t translate to reality and so my reaction to their gasp is worthy.

I would have given Penelope a higher grade but Max’s (James McAvoy) story was a tad bland. He had a similar problem that many characters of the movies has had, but the way that they present it is boring and mainly because it’s been done that way before. If they had a different take on it, it could have helped make the story a bit better. But McAvoy himself was acceptable and preformed well.

A minor mention and something I don’t normally notice, but the clothes that Penelope wears are just awesome looking. I really like a coat that she wore in the film and is wearing in the poster I used as the picture. I think the costume work is fascinating if I can notice it, since I don’t really bother to notice normally. Ha.

Penelope does pander to the children but it is also entertaining for adults. If you are not too into the F word use, that is seriously almost the only thing that separates the adult movies from the children movies, then you just might like it. That’s what it feels like because there’s no way the story is any more mature for adults outside of language use. HA. Hollywood is really blowing chunks with their movies this season and they can’t blame the writer’s strike on that yet.

I am a little iffy on if I will have this on my movie shelf but it was a shocker for me. Penelope got me with its hidden talent of double meaning that hit sort of close to home.

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