One of the "popular girls" decides to put her mean streak to work in this black comedy. Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is an outwardly friendly but inwardly cold and manipulative teenager who attends an exclusive private school… More One of the "popular girls" decides to put her mean streak to work in this black comedy. Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is an outwardly friendly but inwardly cold and manipulative teenager who attends an exclusive private school in Beverly Hills when she's not making fun of her twentysomething stepmother (Jaime King) or listening to her business mogul father (James Woods) rant about the many people he hates. Kimberly's best friend is Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois), who doesn't seem to notice that Kimberly holds a bit of a grudge over the fact Brittany is now dating Troy (Stark Sands), Kimberly's former boyfriend. When Randa (Adi Schnall), an exchange student from the Middle East, arrives at school, Kimberly is asked to show her around, and soon she's giving her the inside scoop on the school's social hierarchy. Kimberly, Brittany, and Randa, like most of the girls at school, don't much care for Mr. Anderson (Ron Livingston), a teacher who doesn't make much of a secret of his lust for the female student body, though he doesn't do much besides look. Kimberly decides to do something about Mr. Anderson by fabricating a story that he has had inappropriate contact with her, Brittany, and Randa, and it doesn't take long for the matter to become a local scandal, though it does end up backfiring on Kimberly in time. Pretty Persuasion also features supporting performances from Selma Blair, Jane Krakowski, and Michael Hitchcock.
Consensus: Pretty Persuasion aims for high satire but falls short of poignancy by depending on too much black humor, with too little redeeming humanity to provide balance.