6.5/10
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81 user 69 critic

Pretty Persuasion (2005)

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2:08 | Trailer
A 15-year-old girl incites chaos among her friends and a media frenzy when she accuses her drama teacher of sexual harassment.

Director:

Marcos Siega

Writer:

Skander Halim
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Evan Rachel Wood ... Kimberly Joyce
David Wagner David Wagner ... Morgan (as David T. Wagner)
Brent Goldberg Brent Goldberg ... Rick
Adi Schnall ... Randa
Elisabeth Harnois ... Brittany
Stark Sands ... Troy
Jane Krakowski ... Emily Klein
Michael Hitchcock ... Headmaster Charles Meyer
Danny Comden ... Roger Nicholl
Jaime King ... Kathy Joyce
Josh Zuckerman ... Josh Horowitz
James Snyder ... Dave
Ron Livingston ... Percy Anderson
Cody McMains ... Kenny
Mike Erwin ... Barry
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Storyline

Manipulative high school sophomore Kimberly Joyce leads her friends Brittany Wells and Randa Azzouni in bringing charges of sexual assault against Percy Anderson, their English and drama teacher at an exclusive private school in Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, local reporter Emily Klein, originally assigned to do an insignificant piece on the school, hopes that the scandal will launch her into celebrity in the television news business, while Kimberly's bigoted father, Hank, is concerned primarily with the effect that his daughter's accusations may have on his business. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The devil wears a grey skirt and her name is Kimberly Joyce. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and graphic dialogue involving teens, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 2006 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

High School Confidential See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,570, 14 August 2005

Gross USA:

$305,800

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$537,126
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Evan Rachel Wood has said that she based Kimberly Joyce on a girl at her high school who "stabbed you in the back with a smile on [her] face..." See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Brittany Wells: God Kimberly, he's a poet!
Brittany Wells: Everything that comes out of his mouth is like an iambic pentagram.
See more »

Connections

References South Park (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Stiffed
Written by Carvin Knowles
Performed by The SEX-O-RAMA Band
Published by Oglio Music
Administered by The Bicycle Music Company
Courtesy of The Oglio Entertainment Group, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Drawn Out Social and Political Satire of Teen Girls
25 September 2005 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"Pretty Persuasion" crosses "Mean Girls" with an updated slant on Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour," but its social and political satire feels in too many scenes like an extended "Saturday Night Live" sketch.

The film is heavy-handedly based on the sociological findings that instead of doing Columbine-like violence, teen age girls lash out with spiteful aggression in social situations. The film makes the extended case that teen girls are more like Machiavelli than "Carrie" or as in "Heathers." The male debut writer and director can't resist adding in dollops of male fantasy about girls and women. Even under the guise of examining how ambiguous male-driven media messages from Britney Spears to Lolita to TV shows, etc. create confusing role models of appropriate behavior for girls in their real lives, males are seen as clueless pawns of younger females.

One effective touch is to replay scenes in flashbacks from different angles to show how miscommunications and misunderstandings can occur and be manipulated.

Individual scenes and caricatures are very funny, particularly James Wood doing a comic take on his "Ghosts of Mississippi" role. Adi Schnall is touching as a naive Muslim student thrown in with the sharks of the American Dream. Jane Krakowski enjoys making fun of the ambitious bombshell roles she usually plays. Elisabeth Harnois is the most affecting as the best friend, but she is so natural she almost seems to be in a different movie. Selma Blair has a brief funny scene as a wife mocking her husband's fantasies, though a notable episode of TV's "Angel" did the exact same scene with more dark bite, as well as the general theme taken up more effectively by Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and Ryan Murphy in "Popular."

But most of the rest of the broad, scatter shot attacks on ethnic, racial and sexual PC clichés end up just wooden and go on repetitively for too long. Individual lines like "I can sympathize with the immigrant experience because I'm Canadian." are amusing, as are ongoing jokes about putting on the story of Anne Frank as the high school play, but pile up in dialog that even the commanding Evan Rachel Wood has trouble making seem real.

The closing montage ties all the disparate themes together in a sudden shift of tone, but it was a long time getting there, in moving from the obvious to the touching to twists in using high school as the usual metaphor for the world at large.

The cinematography is all appropriate bright pink. The set design is full of visual jokes, more than the can be picked up quickly.

For a film set in the world of teenagers, there are few songs on the sound track, perhaps due to budget limitations, but more music might have helped the pacing.


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