I went into watching this movie with low expectations. I'd read a little about it, and people had generally said that it didn't live up to its potential. Saddened me, but I had to see it at least once.
I'm glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Christina and James did an excellent job in this story, and the only bit I felt was lacking was more of James after Penelope escaped into the real world. I'd have liked to see them interacting more there.
The story itself is pretty much as expected. Family curse, girl's happier with it than her parents, suitors can't get over her looks (that seemed far overplayed, actually), girl wants someone who can accept her, and knows no one will. Enter boy. Boy needs money, doesn't care--at first--what she looks like, the two hit it off better than both expected, but he can't break the curse (no reason given at first), boy runs off, girl runs away from home.
I love that James's character is as rich as he is. And I can see that he probably wasn't given much to play with, because he feels a bit paper-thin on the surface, but James makes him work. Christina's Penelope is absolutely wonderful, and so strong. A great role-model for little girls. And the solution to the curse is absolutely perfect.
Definitely a movie to watch if you like fairy tales, though if you're expecting a traditional romance, it might fall a bit flat for you.