Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 29
  2. Negative: 9 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: David Gilmour
    It is also extremely well-written in the fearless way of a smarty pants on a roll in the university cafeteria.
  2. 80
    This is a very funny film about a creepy, excruciatingly lonely world.
  3. An obscene, misanthropic go-for-broke satire, Pretty Persuasion is so gleefully nasty that the fact that it was even made and released is astonishing. Much of it is also extremely funny.
  4. It's too bad that the satire is not more pointed, because Pretty Persuasion is outrageously funny in short blasts, mainly thanks to James Woods at his most gleefully depraved.
  5. 70
    The comedy is brutal and paper thin, but that is less bothersome than the ending of the movie, which abruptly changes its tone.
  6. 67
    There is such a thoroughgoing nastiness to the plot and dialogue that the film almost achieves a level of buoyancy.
  7. 60
    In a star-making performance, Evan Rachel Wood stars as essentially a younger version of Nicole Kidman's media-age femme fatale from "To Die For," an aspiring 15-year-old actress who hides a sharp, calculating mind behind a façade of vapid, chattering self-absorption.
  8. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    A teenie "To Die For" whose flaws are superceded by a complex, compelling turn from Evan Rachel Wood.
  9. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    Kills itself with unrestrained negativism, but almost resuscitates itself with some great comedy.
  10. 50
    So exploitative and misogynistic that its last-minute dramatic turns and pleas for tolerance and understanding come off as manipulative as its heroine.
  11. 50
    If the resulting film doesn't work equally well at all levels, Wood (who starred in "Thirteen") gives an astonishing performance that pushes it most of the way there.
  12. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Ms. Wood, who made a potent impression two years ago as a naïve adolescent led astray by a sophisticated and psychotic classmate in "Thirteen," has the whip hand this time around -- and she's wonderfully persuasive. She needs a movie to match.
  13. 50
    So the movie is daring, and well-acted. Yet it isn't very satisfying, because the serious content keeps breaking through the soggy plot intended to contain it.
  14. Tries to be an audacious, irreverent satire about youth culture like "Lord Love a Duck," but most of the laughs get strangled at birth by the uncertainty of Siega's tone.
  15. 50
    Pretty Persuasion reminds me of a half-hour TV series that has a great pilot episode, then falls apart in subsequent installments. Movies need to grow and change to keep things interesting; this one is stagnant.
  16. 50
    Isn't so much awful as it is self-conscious, overdone, shallow, and just not up to the level of its star.
  17. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    An exercise in bad taste that takes itself just seriously enough to be offensive.
  18. 40
    A high school send-up more gleefully incorrect than "Heathers" and considerably less articulate than "Election," Pretty Persuasion is a hand grenade lobbed at no place in particular.
  19. A film that aspires to join the company of its predecessors--smart, funny satires that skewered the hypocrisy and cruelty of high school life. But it won't. For starters, Pretty Persuasion commits a fatal error: It forgets to side with the students.
  20. Sets out to be a social critique but settles for smug disdain.
  21. Not funny because it's not true.
  22. Another high school vixen movie, this one with a potty mouth (the vixen) and pretensions of social commentary (the movie), Pretty Persuasion brings to mind a number of other titles, all better.
  23. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Most of Halim's script is a laundry list of offensive remarks that he no doubt means to serve as titillating spoof, but none of it's funny or even the least bit provocative, just offensive.
  24. Reviewed by: Curt Fields
    It just rings false, like having Hannibal Lecter take up vegetarianism.
  25. A devastatingly dishonest, tough look at teenage life.
  26. The movie wants so badly to be mentioned in the same breath as "Heathers" or "Election" that it's not even funny. Really, I mean it, this charred-black comedy is not even funny.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    There's enough estrogen gone awry in this bitchy teen comedy to make "Mean Girls" look like a Disney after-school special.
  28. The disingenuous attempt to give the tawdry story some kind of social import only makes the tinny caricatures more insincere, while his erotic display of 15-year-old girls isn't a satire of a sexualized culture, it's just dirty.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. ChadS.
    Feb 14, 2006
    At first, "Pretty Persuasion" seems like a "Heathers"-wanna-be. In both films, the protagonist wants to be a good person. But when we arrive At first, "Pretty Persuasion" seems like a "Heathers"-wanna-be. In both films, the protagonist wants to be a good person. But when we arrive at the final scene, it's hard not to see this mean-spirited teen comedy as a sort of "In the Company of [Teenage Girls]". Kimberly is Chad(Aaron Eckhart in the Neal LaBute film) in a skirt. What happens to Randa(Adi Schnall) is too heavy-handed; too serious a truth about Muslim attitudes towards their girls who besmirch the family's "good" name, in a film that uses the Arab teen as color. And what Brittany(Elisabeth Harnois) performs at a school-play rehearsal is about as unlikely as Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally". It's very unpleasant. "Pretty Persuasion" also needlessly tells its story in a non-linear fashion, and trades the world of teenage girls for the world of courtrooms to the detriment of the "teen film"-genre it's trying to skewer. Full Review »
  2. ArielG.
    Feb 12, 2006
    Very sharp satire about high school life in these current times. Evan Rachel Wood shone in her dual role as the good girl and the schemer. Very sharp satire about high school life in these current times. Evan Rachel Wood shone in her dual role as the good girl and the schemer. There are parts in this movie which may offend some racial groups, so be wary. Offensive language and simulated sex scenes are featured occasionally - Don't watch it with your parents, unless you want to cringe with embarassment. But do see it if you're a fan of biting comedies and satirical high school movies like Election. Full Review »
  3. JaneA.
    Sep 3, 2005
    It's Clever and Funny and Harsh. Well-written. Incisive look at highschool and contemporary attitudes.