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Penelope

Whimsical modern romance yarn about a pretty girl with an ugly nose.

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Marl Palansky's contemporary fairy tale set in London revisits a common problem: Having been born into a cursed family, pretty, bright Penelope (Christina Ricci) is disfigured by having the nose and ears of a pig (albeit a pretty cute pig). Only the love of a true-hearted suitor can magically dispel her porcine features. The likely candidate is dissolute blueblood Max (James McAvoy), but an interfering tabloid reporter (Peter Dinklage) derails Penelope's hopes. Fortunately, Penelope doesn't overplay the whimsy, though it often misses the mark on funny. It would benefit from being more sly and employing less slapstick. Likewise the mixed Anglo-American cast doesn't always hit their marks in tandem -- the Brits mostly play low-key, while the Yanks go broad. Nonetheless, this is a mostly entertaining, inoffensive diversion, all wrapped up with the usual lessons about accepting people with piggy noses. Starts Fri., Feb. 29. (AH)

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