Cute and whimsical, but needs a bit more edge
Penelope is supposed to be a modern day fairy tale, with all of the whimsy and warmth of the old Disney cartoons. It's a funny and quirky film, that aims for the feel and charm of a little indie flick, but sometimes looks like a big budget romantic comedy. The film really banks off of the performances of all of its cast. Christina stars as the lead role, that has to find love to break the curse created by her ancestors. James McAvoy is the lead male, with demons of his own, who is supposed to break this curse. Catherine O'Hara plays her over-bearing mother, whom keeps her daughter locked up for years to 'protect' her. And Reese Witherspoon is Penelope's worldly-traveled and experienced new friend. The characters are all interesting, yet sometimes annoying and unbelievable, especially Ricci's, who has some unexpected and incredibly quick spurts of character development, but other then that, they are well-rounded and interesting.
The story follows the young, wealthy, british, woman, who was born with a pig's nose, due to her ancestor's adultery. Penelope is kept in her house her entire life, so that she cannot be exploited by the local media. Her mother keeps trying to find her a suitable man, who can stand the girl's face, and possibly love her. Eventually, Penelope gets so sick of men running at the sight of her, she leaves. This is only after her most possible candidate (McAvoy) doesn't give quite the reaction she expected. Once she enters the outside world, she finds a new friend (Witherspoon) and a new way of viewing the world and herself. There's a good moral here, that you don't quite expect. It's a good story, with an OK script, and great performances.