“Penelope”: Christina Ricci has a nose for the bizarre

Christina Ricci has done several odd little movies. It has made me wonder if her time as Wednesday Addams perhaps twisted her psyche. Or maybe it was her early exposure to Cher and Winona Ryder in Mermaids that gave her a warped view of the world.

It’s not that I’m complaining. I happen to like the sometimes peculiar movie choices that accompany her apparently warped world view. I love that she’s all over the map in what she does, from Monster to Speed Racer and The Opposite of Sex to Sleepy Hollow. She’s the actress least likely to get sucked into a romantic comedy rut. Of course, that’s not to say she can’t do romantic comedy. In fact, she has. But, Christina Ricci being Christina Ricci, her romantic comedy choice isn’t exactly what you would call typical.

Since 2006, a movie called Penelope has been making the festival rounds with little fanfare. The lack of attention is surprising, considering the cast includes not only Ricci, but also Catherine O’Hara, James McAvoy and Reese Witherspoon.

Ricci plays the title character, a woman who has been locked away in her home since birth by her overly protective mother, played by O’Hara. You see, Penelope was born with a pig snout for a nose. Her mother didn’t want poor Penelope to deal with the slings and arrows of hateful children, so she kept her safe at home her whole life. But now, in order to break a family curse, Penelope must find a husband who will accept her, snout and all. Think I’m pulling your leg? Here’s the trailer as proof.



As you may have noticed, I’m rather fond of Christina Ricci. Call me crazy. I like women who seem just a teensy bit off-kilter. They make life more interesting. But more than that, I like a woman with a good dose of attitude. And while Ricci appears to be the soft little femme of this particular film, Reese Witherspoon is looking particularly badass.

Chrstina Ricci with a pig snout falling for James McAvoy (who has exquisite taste in co-stars) and making friends with a badass Reese Witherspoon in motorcycle leathers — what could be better than that? OK, Reese riding an actual motorcycle, rather than a Vespa, would be better, but I’m not going to get greedy here. I’ll be heading for a theater near me when Penelope opens in February. How about you?