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Pretty Persuasion (2005)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 8,103 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 77 user | 66 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

A 15-year-old girl incites chaos among her friends and a media frenzy when she accuses her drama teacher of sexual harassment.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Wagner ...
Morgan (as David T. Wagner)
Brent Goldberg ...
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Storyline

Manipulative high school sophomore Kimberly Joyce leads her friends Brittany Wells and Randa Azzouni in bringing charges of sexual assault against Percy Anderson, their English and drama teacher at an exclusive private school in Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, local reporter Emily Klein, originally assigned to do an insignificant piece on the school, hopes that the scandal will launch her into celebrity in the television news business, while Kimberly's bigoted father, Hank, is concerned primarily with the effect that his daughter's accusations may have on his business. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Revenge knows no mercy See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and graphic dialogue involving teens, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 2006 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

High School Confidential  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$58,570 (USA) (12 August 2005)

Gross:

$305,688 (USA) (28 October 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film achieved brief exposure on the Internet after a short lesbian scene was leaked. See more »

Quotes

Brittany Wells: I like this music. Can you buy the soundtrack to pornos?
Kimberly Joyce: Tiffany Minx, Stephanie Swift... You know, Brittany, a lot of these porn stars have names that sound like ours. So if we wanted to, when we grow up, we could be porn stars. You couldn't, Randa. I'm sorry.
Randa: That is quite all right.
See more »

Connections

References Beaches (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Gare a Toi Jeune Amant
Written by Gilad Benamram (ASCAP), Ran Pink (BMI) & Flora Benamram (ACUM)
Performed by The Marionette Sextet
Recorded and Mixed by Clint Bennett
Published by EverBliss Music, Inc. (ASCAP), Ran Pink Publishing (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
rarely evokes more than the sound of crickets from the audience
7 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Pretty Persuasion Reviewed by Sam Osborn

Rating: 2 out of 4

Let's get one thing straight, I was not in any way offended by Pretty Persuasion. Many critics have disparaged the film for its aggressive subject matter, but I simply didn't find the film to be the least bit entertaining. I rarely take offense at the subject matter of a film, as long as it is necessary to the proper telling of the film's story. With Pretty Persuasion, the so-called offensive material is quite imperative for the telling of the story. That's not to say however, that I enjoyed the story. Instead of striving for a slick, intelligent and provocative film, Pretty Persuasion lapses into cruelty and absurdly misaimed satire that rarely evokes more than the sound of crickets from the audience. It seems to want to reside in a Napoleon Dynamite-esquire world, where normality was a disease cured centuries ago. But don't hold your breath Napoleon fans, these aren't the quasi-lovable characters of middle America from the Sundance cult phenomenon, but precocious, snooty Beverly Hill caricatures that would rattle the nerves of even the vainest of Hollywood celebs. There are, of course, the film's delightful little moments of hilarious shock factor (take, for example, Kimberly's dialogue with her stepmother) and some strangely impressive performances, but the screenplay hits its balls so far into left field that most of us are left shaking our heads in disappointment.

The film follows the devious scheming of Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) through her early years of high school. Teaming up with her newfound Arab friend Randa Azzouni (Adi Schnall), and boyfriend stealing bombshell, Brittany Wells (Elisabeth Harnois), the three set out to come forward with accusations of sexual assault, incriminating their easily distracted History teacher, Mr. Anderson (Ron Livingston), whose interest in young ladies has even reached into his marriage to Grace Anderson (Selma Blaire). Picking up the story is the stunning, lesbian reporter Emily Klein (Jane Krakowsi). Back at home, Kimberly's father, played outrageously by James Woods, worries only over the reputation of his wholesale electronics business. Divorced and re-married with a girlfriend on the side, Woods' character wanders about the house in robe and boxers, spouting ignorant and prejudiced comments and insisting he isn't being a racist, but simply telling the truth. Woods' performance is nearly worth recommending the film for. He steals scenes like they were candy from a baby, demanding the audience's concentration and truly earning the attention comically. This is Woods at his best, however ignorant his dialogue may be.

Evan Rachel Wood has rapidly become my favorite young female actor in Hollywood. Coming off impressive work in Samuel Bayer's Green Day music video "When September Ends" with Jamie Bell, Wood continues with her streak of phenomenal independent work in Pretty Persuasion. Despite the film's creative crutch, Wood takes her virtuoso bitchy role by storm. It's a daring, provocative, and hilarious performance by one of the industry's most intriguing actresses.

But despite all my raving of the film's performances, I still find myself bored with Pretty Persuasion. There's great potential here to make an intelligent and provocative film that could possibly pose as a comic version of American Beauty. Instead, director Marcos Siega takes the low road for scatological and low-brow goofiness, sacrificing all that could be satisfyingly funny. We're left alienated by Siega's quasi-normal world and not allowed to re-connect. The jokes range from sexist to racist, attempting to offend any and all the least bit interested in women's rights. Instead of achieving satire, the film finds itself wallowing in gross immaturity.


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