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Pretty Persuasion


Stars: Evan Rachel Wood. James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Ron Livingston

Director: Marcos Siega

This is a cross between Election and Mean Girls, and the resultant hybrid could have just as easily been called Pretty Poison, if someone hadn't nailed that title decades ago.

There's no doubt that the material for a first-class black satire can be found here, but the makers just miss the mark. And star Evan Rachel Wood can't quite exude the pure evil required for the high schooler raised by an off-the-wall father (Woods) who snorts cocaine and chats on sex lines.

She it is who concocts a complex plan of revenge that involves herself and two friends lodging false accusations of abuse against a hated teacher (Livingston).

Majorly non-PC and aggressively foul-mouthed, the film fails because its characters are either too icy (Wood) or just too overblown (Woods) to be either funny or loathsome. Naturally, this being modern cinema, evil triumphs in the end, but you could hardly say the film is the better for it.

David Quinlan

USA 2005. UK Distributor: Momentum. Color by De Luxe.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Jul 2006