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"The Pretty One": Bangs Make All the Difference 

Wednesday, Feb 19 2014

Jenée LaMarque's The Pretty One has a more gruesome premise than most body-switching comedies, but also more heart, mostly due to Zoe Kazan's expressive, vulnerable performance. Laurel and Audrey (both Kazan) are grown-up twin sisters who lead different lives: Audrey, the "pretty" one, has gone off into the world and become a successful real estate agent; Laurel, the "homely" one (inasmuch as the lovely Kazan can be made to look homely), still lives in their rural home with their widower father, and is only just getting around to tackling that whole "virginity" thing. Shortly after Audrey treats Laurel to a makeover that makes her look more like Audrey — mostly via cutting her bangs — they're in a car crash which immolates Audrey. When everyone mistakenly believes it was Laurel who died, Laurel rolls with it, attending her own funeral and assuming Audrey's life and identity. The Pretty One's themes of malleable personas are reminiscent of the Kazan-penned Ruby Sparks; while Kazan didn't write this script, it's a perfect fit for her, as she makes "bewildered, overwhelmed, and making it up as you go along" relatable, even if you're just living your own life and not somebody else's. (And how would you know?) The Pretty One also acknowledges a universal truth: Bangs make everyone prettier.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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