Monday, 28 July 2014

The Pretty One

If you’ve ever sat around in your pants wishing that you could watch a film that’s even worse than, yet almost exactly the same as, Sliding Doors, then you’re in luck. Put your trousers on, go to CeX and get yourself a copy of ‘The Pretty One’ starring Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson. It’s directed by Jenée LaMarque and is a coming of age story, which taught me that a nice hair cut makes you oddly upbeat and selfish about the sudden death of your more successful twin sister.

The Pretty One begins with two identical twins, Laurel and Audrey (Kazan) celebrating their birthday. The ‘pretty’ one in question is Audrey and she’s also meant to be a bit of a bitch. It’s impossible to be pretty and nice in films nowadays, and Laurel, the other one, is feeling a bit left out due to the lack of attention. Audrey is worshipped from a far until people get up close, then they worship her there too – there doesn’t seem to be much reasoning for this other than her hair and dress. The present she gives her sister is a contrived setup for the plot; she brings Laurel for a make over and makes her look exactly like her. She also gives her a necklace with “Audrey” written on it, saying something like “Now you’ll always have a piece of me with you, and it’ll totally confuse paramedics if I ever end up dying in a car crash.”

So the The Pretty One would have you believe that, after said car crash approximately 30 minutes later, Laurel and Audrey’s parents don’t recognise which daughter survived… because of hair. Now for some reason my year/grade in school was blessed with almost five sets of twins. It took about three months before they started to look essentially the same but recognisably different, so I severely doubt that her parents wouldn’t have been able to tell. Now if they were in fact the same actress playing two girls, then yes maybe I could understand…

So nobody really cares that “Laurel” (actually Audrey) is dead, because the pretty one survived. Even Laurel only appears irritated that people aren’t more upset at her death without ever showing the slightest bit of sadness that her life-long best friend and twin sister has died. I read somewhere that when an identical twin dies the other one absorbs their soul and they can transform into their spirit animal at will, like a tiger or something. None of this happens for a second in the film and I think it would’ve been far more entertaining.

From now on the story is simpler, by which I mean ‘a different version of exactly the same stuff I normally see in the cinema with people I love’. Because I wouldn’t traditionally go see a film that reeks of tedium like this one did unless it’s with someone that I need to constantly prove my worth to. Girl meets boy —> boy and girl fall in love —> girl and boy have fight over framing device —> they get back together —> the end.

On the plus side it had an inkling of maturity about it that I’m not used to from debut directions. Despite this it still feels a bit too much like a late night pub idea. “How long do you think it would take you to notice I wasn’t me if I was replaced by a doppelgänger… hey that’d make a good film”. It’s not awful, and the nurse I watched it with only really complained about Laurel driving with a broken wrist, so maybe its more of a ‘girly’ film for casual film viewers. Or maybe solely for nurses in their twenties. Either way I’ll probably never remember having seen it. While researching funny references to relate to you about twins (I didn’t find any) I did find a woman who genuinely believes eating sweet potatoes will bless you with twins of your own. Apparently it’s science. But you know what they say when you accuse them of being fucking insane because they are clearly making up sweet potato based facts? I yam what I yam.

This film has been twinned with a poo I saw a naughty dog do in the street, 2/5.


Dave Roberts

The Pretty One at CeX

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