Beastly should be considered a romantic flick by the tweener set but fails as a modern-day take on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale.

As the story goes, there’s a vain prince who thinks of no one else but himself, so a witch curses him, turning him into a beast and giving him one year to find a girl to love him, not for his looks but for what’s inside. In Beastly, the prince is a modern-day high school stud named Kyle (Alex Pettyfer), who basically rules the roost by proclaiming his hotness and preaching that attractive people are the only ones who can win. He doesn’t come by this philosophy unnaturally since his news anchor, distant father (Peter Krause) has been telling him that since he was a little tyke. And when Kyle ticks off the wrong person — Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), the emo chick at school who’s really a witch — she hexes Kyle, gives him some serious facial scars and tattoos and sends him on his way to find love from the inside.

Here comes the part that’s really hard to believe. After her drug-dealing father puts her in danger, Kyle manages to work out a deal to protect Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), a girl he briefly met before he became hideous boy. At first, all Lindy knows is she’s being forced to live with a weird guy named Hunter, his Jamaican housekeeper (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and the blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris). But Kyle sees a possible chance at redemption — and love — with Lindy, and soon she warms up to Kyle, teaching him how to be a good person without the good looks.

Pettyfer, who is also starring in I Am Number Four, doesn’t have much depth as the tortured Kyle, but he performs as best he can, while Hudgens mostly gets to stand around and look beautiful. Hamilton is sort of eye-rolling stereotypical as the wise Jamaican, as is Krause as the ultra-vain dad, which is too bad since the Parenthood actor can be so good. Olsen as the witch was a fascinating choice, and she plays it to the hilt, getting to wear all kinds of crazy wigs and fabulous costumes. Kudos to her for pulling it off. And thank god for Harris, who steals every scene he is in and adds all the right kinds of comedy in a movie he really has absolutely no business being in.

I do admit Pettyfer and Hudgens are pretty eye candy, and if I were 11-years-old (as is my daughter, who saw the movie with me), I might get swept up into the romance of it all. The story doesn’t really have to make sense in order for you to be an adolescent swooning at the young leads. So for that reason, Beastly follows the Twilight pattern and succeeds in drawing in that same audience. I also remember the TV series Beauty and the Beast, which was also terribly romantic but didn’t make a whole lot of sense either in its modern-day milieu. Yeah, without a castle, singing teapots, clocks and candlesticks, it just isn’t the same, is it?