BEAUTIFUL CREATURES directed by Bill Eagles, written by Simon Donald, produced by Donald and Alan J. Wands, with Rachel Weisz, Susan Lynch, Iain Glen, Tom Mannion and Alex Norton. 88 minutes. A Killer Films/Open City Films production. A Universal Focus/Universal Pictures release. Opens Friday (April 6). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 97. Rating: NNN
the female buddy film hit an all-time low with the release of the sexually explicit and gory Baise-Moi, but the genre is redeemed this week with the opening of Beautiful Creatures.
Ex-junkie Dorothy (Susan Lynch) is on her way out of Glasgow and away from her drug-dealing boyfriend Tony (Iain Glen). She stops in time to save blond bombshell Petula (Rachel Weisz) from her abusive lover Brian (Tom Mannion) by banging him over the head with a metal pipe. Brian kicks it, and the two women come up with an absurd kidnapping plot to get enough money to leave town.
Petula and Dorothy don't actually do a lot of planning in the movie -- they merely react to a string of accidents and misunderstandings that drive them into bumbling criminal behaviour.
Pretty soon the duo start enjoying their Lucy-and-Ethel antics, and the laughs come from the women's moments of glee.
Finally rid of their bad-news boyfriends, they experience working as a team and putting their street smarts to use.
These aren't naive heroines but well-rounded characters whose greatest flaw is their taste for crappy men. Jokes about the abuse they've endured work because you feel the women are lightening their load, each one-liner moving them up a rung on the ladder of self-respect.
Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Enemy At The Gates) is almost unrecognizable as the platinum-blond Petula, and the dye job does her a world of good, lightening up her usually stern screen presence.
But she's no dumb blond, even if she is treated that way by the men in the movie, who all end up wishing they'd taken her and Dorothy more seriously.
Beautiful Creatures works as a thriller and comedy and ultimately as a slap in face for men who judge a woman by her looks.