Penelope (2006), or What’s Wrong With A Pig Nose?

21 05 2009

Penelope is a wish-fulfillment fantasy about a young woman born with a pig’s nose. She’s stricken with a curse carried down from her blue-blood ancestors that her wealthy and not-so-piglike parents were certainly not expecting to experience. This curse, wrought upon them by an angry witch for extraneous reasons nearly a hundred years prior, can only be broken by Penelope finding a husband with a rich family, like hers. The problem is that when spoiled and attractive suitors come along, they find themselves absolutely terrified of her face (!) and often run away screaming (!!!). With a mother that would rather hide her away from the world and have her married to the first blue-blood that comes along, and a face that is allegedly hideous, it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope for our poor pig-nosed waif. But chivalry comes in the form of Max, a ramblin’ gamblin’ ne’er do well aristocrat who likes her just the way she is. But does he have a secret agenda and possible complications? You betcha!

If you like romantic comedies, this is the place to be for you, but I had a hard time getting into it for a while. It starts out just flat-out ridiculous, and just when my brain was about to throw in the towel, it starts picking up by leaps and bounds and becomes a worthwhile endeavor. The problem is that they base the premise around the concept that Penelope’s pig nose makes her INCREDIBLY ugly. What’s so wrong with that, you ask? Well, you chauvinist monster, Penelope is played by a lithe and quite attractive Christina Ricci, first of all. In no way is she unattractive, so just by adding a pig-nose prosthetic, we are supposed to believe that well-to-do men JUMP THROUGH WINDOWS TO GET AWAY FROM HER FACE?! I’m not kidding. It’s a joke, I know, but by the middle of the film they just drop it and hardly discuss it at all, so I suppose they realized that the gimmick wasn’t working by then.

The rest of the film is actually decent, with a breakout performance by Peter Dinklage as a reporter and a likable performance by the pretty, if not banal, Christina Ricci. It’s every single romantic comedy ever, so don’t go in looking for something to shock you, because you will find zero surprises here. But it’s definitely a better made film than most others in the genre, and I feel like I would like films in that style better if they were more like this.  Check it out, but just don’t bust through your window when you see Penelope. I give this film 7 INCREDIBLY UGLY PIG NOSESout of 10. Check it out sometime.

Stay tuned later today for my review of The Road Warrior!!!