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British film producer Andrew (Trainspotting) Macdonald recently announced that all his films would henceforth be released first in the United States; offended by hostile U.K. reviews of his products—most recently, Beautiful Creatures—Macdonald and his collaborators have decided that British critics are more cynical than their stateside counterparts. So let it be noted, in the full spirit of American earnestness and fair play, that Beautiful Creatures is a lousy movie. Essentially Thelma & Louise in a Shallow Grave, this black-pudding comedy is the tale of two women who meet cute—when one kills the other’s boyfriend. Dorothy (Susan Lynch) and her dog, Pluto, have already been brutalized by her junkie beau, Tony (Iain Glen), when they encounter Petula (a blonded-out Rachel Weisz) being choked by her bad boy, Brian (Tom Mannion). Defending Petula, Dorothy happens to kill Brian, leaving the two new pals with a body to dispose of. Rather than develop this Two Gals and a Corpse scenario, however, writer-producer Simon Donald takes everything to another level of nastiness by having the women decide to pretend that Brian has been kidnapped. The guy they expect to pay the ransom is Brian’s brother—and Petula’s boss—Ronnie (Maurice Roëves), a gangster who sends corrupt cop Hepburn (Alex Norton) to capture the kidnappers. Hepburn, however, wants to score big—including with Petula, who’s depicted as a dimwitted sexual trinket. Set mostly in the bleak, Corbu-style high-rises of suburban Glasgow, this cavalcade of perversions is apparently supposed to be sophisticated. The problem isn’t just that none of the characters are admirable—even Pluto, the most cultured of these animals, has an uncouth moment—it’s that they’re so tiresome. First-time feature director Bill Eagles, a British TV-drama veteran, gives the action some style, but it’s telling that the movie’s lightest touch is a running gag about bondage porn. —Mark Jenkins