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PRETTY PERSUASION

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A popular and promiscuous student at a tony Beverly Hills prep school, Kimberley (Evan Rachel Wood), enlists two classmates in a scheme to get back at a teacher (Ron Livingstone) by accusing him of sexual harassment. This black comedy from Marcos Siega lifts its plot and varying tones shamelessly from its superior bad-teen-girl antecedents -- Heathers, Thirteen and Mean Girls -- while offering little new. There's the occasional clever observation, but most of the humor is limp (blondes are dumb) and crass (I now have an unwanted image of James Woods masturbating trapped in my mind). Eventually the film's farcical approach dead-ends in a bit of hard truth that while it doesn't feel any more real than its contrived set-up is still enough to scuttle any of the remaining fun in this unnecessary satirical exercise. (AH)

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