Release Date: February 29, 2008
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Friday, March 2, 2007
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Christina Ricci likes to keep her face hidden so people won't know she's *in* the movie.

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Position Staff In Brief
41/196 Max Braden Too short, and I'm not a big fan of Catherine O'Hara, but this is my favorite performance by Witherspoon to date.

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Almost everyone is familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast. There are numerous variations on that old-time fairy tale, but the gist of it is that love can overcome appearances. Beasts - be they ugly, monstrous, or just unusual - can actually be quite good and loveable if they find the right person. Nowadays, many people surely think of the hit Disney animated version when they think of Beauty and the Beast.

Penelope, from writer Leslie Caveny (of TV series' such as NewsRadio and Everybody Loves Raymond) and first-time feature director Mark Palansky, is a very interesting modern spin on the fairy tale. It is about a woman (Christina Ricci) who has spent her life weighed down by a nasty family curse. The problem? She was born with the face of a pig. Her mother (Catherine O'Hara) has sheltered her for much of her life. But Penelope is a grown adult and it's time for her to find out who she really is inside, and perhaps find true love in the process. The strong supporting cast includes Reese Witherspoon as one of her friends and James McAvoy as Max, a possible love interest. McAvoy, of course, played Mr. Tumnus the faun in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and was Forrest Whitaker's outstanding co-lead in The Last King of Scotland. Other familiar faces in the cast include Peter Dinklage and Richard Grant.

Ricci hasn't exactly been a big name in Hollywood over the past decade, so don't expect Penelope to light a fire at the box office. But this whimsical romantic comedy has a strong premise. If Caveny, Palansky and the rest of the cast and crew can deliver, Penelope might be freed from her curse to have a bright future. (Michael Bentley/BOP)

Vital statistics for Penelope
Main Cast Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Catherine O'Hara
Supporting Cast Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dinklage, Richard E. Grant, Simon Woods, Ronni Ancona, Nick Frost, Richard James
Director Mark Palansky
Screenwriter Leslie Caveny
Distributor IFC Films
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG
Running Time 104 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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