02/20/2013 09:53 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2013

Beautiful Creatures Is Twilight Lite

Teen romance, supernatural powers, a love between a human and a witch -- it is all present in the new film Beautiful Creatures. Still there is something lacking that makes this cast an unlikely successor to the fans of the Twilight series. It has some good moments and even some unique ones but there are also parts of it that are just plain dull.

Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert) are high school students in a small South Carolina town. She is an outsider who has just moved to town, and he is the popular boy who is drawn to her. Later he learns that she is a "caster," which is a form of a witch. She also will be changed on her sixteenth birthday into someone very good or very bad.

Her Uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons) is hoping for the good side but her mother Serafine (Emma Thompson) is hoping for the dark side to emerge. She wants Lena to be like her and she is very much drawn to the dark. Also on the dark side is her cousin Ridley (Emma Rossum). Ethan's housekeeper Amma (Viola Davis) has some powers and she is trying to help the young girl.

All of this sounds terrifically interesting but it isn't. For one thing Ethan and Lena are better friends than lovers. They are great when they are trading quips and making light fun of each other. When they become passionate the charisma between them dies a little.

Also the inclusion of Irons, Thompson, Davis and Rossum makes for uncomfortable viewing. They look as though they are slumming through these roles and want it all to end as quickly as possible. Thompson particularly is almost hysterical in her presentation. She is shrill and acts quite mad. Also, please do not include Margo Martindale in a movie unless she has a good role. Her days of playing silly bit parts should be behind her.

There are also strange unanswered questions in the film. Ethan lives with his father but the man is never seen. There seems to be an issue about that but it is never resolved. Then there are people who are killed off and in the next scene are miraculously back among the living, and their deaths are never mentioned.

The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.

Beautiful Creatures has a glossy look to it but the "beauty" of the story is never unveiled. If Ehrenreich and Englert were meant to be the next Pattinson and Stewart the casting director missed the boat. Together they help drag this movie down.

I scored Beautiful Creatures an ugly 4 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper