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Pretty Smart
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by Jack Sommersby

"'Pretty' Bad"
1 stars

One of those numerous offerings from New World Pictures that never should've seen the light of day.

While it's always nice that a novice screenwriter and director have been given the chance to show if they can deliver the goods, in the case of Pretty Smart, a woefully inadequate picture with oodles of attractive young actresses serving up their considerable looks and bodacious bodies for the camera, it would've spared the audience eighty-five minutes of their lives if Dan Hoskins and Dimitri Logothetis had been relegated to a field more deserving of their dubious talents by the likes of, say, manning the grill and register in the greasiest spoon imaginable. The heroine, Daphne, an extroverted outcast, and her sister, a Goody Two Shoes, are sent by their wealthy parents overseas to the private all-girls Aweiglby Academy in France; in record time, Daphne, dressed in black Goth clothes and sporting a ferocious hairstyle, irks the ire of the letch of a headmaster, unsubtly named Mr. Crawley. The school is actually located in a castle, whose owner leases it out and leads paid tours throughout the place to defer costs (showing off a room that Mussolini lost his virginity in when he was forty-two is a highlight); and Crawley subsidizes his scant income by secretly videotaping the daughters of influential businessmen and politicians for blackmail purposes, as well as running an "export business" of selling kilos of cocaine. He's a real bastard, but rather than a villain we love to hate, the veteran television actor Dennis Cole, both blonde and bland, doesn't have the necessary force to make much of an impression -- he hasn't the creative resources to make more of a part than what's been written. And Tricia Leigh Fisher, who was believable as Burt Reynolds's estranged daughter in Stick, lacks the charisma to suitably vivify Daphne -- she's just another listless cog in the movie's unimaginable wheel. We're supposed to be witnessing a battle of the sexes where these resourceful girls band together to defeat this remorseless male chauvinist, but because the characters remain no more than two-dimensional and the puerile plot never kicks into third gear, Pretty Smart has all the cumulative interest of a bake sale. Granted, the movie has an agreeable amount of boobs and bottoms, but so did the much-more-enjoyable Private School, where the appealing Phoebe Cates and voluptuous Betsy Russell made indelible impressions. Hoskins can't write a single line of dialogue to save his life, and Logothetis staging even a rudimentary two-character dialogue scene is beyond him. Both are deserving of at least three Saturdays in detention.

Get your mother to call you in sick.

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originally posted: 03/05/14 12:46:58
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  01-Mar-1987 (R)



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