Jenee LaMarque

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There are no evil twins in Jenée LaMarque’s clever and creative The Pretty One. There are no good twins in the film, either, no such black and white distinctions between siblings split from the same egg. There’s not even really a pretty one (because there’s certainly no ugly one), there are just two very different girls from the same place. (And a haircut and a car accident and a mix-up and a plan, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) Laurel (Zoe Kazan) hasn’t progressed much beyond her younger years – after the death of her mother, she’s stayed nearly housebound, painting high class copies (read: forgeries you can hang in your own home) alongside her beloved father (John Carroll Lynch), sporting her mom’s duds, and bedding a high school student she used to help babysit (Laurel’s childish spirit helps this thorny subplot seem at least a hair less troublesome than it sounds on paper). Elsewhere, her idolized twin sister Audrey (Kazan, obviously) has carved out a new life for herself in the big city, complete with a career selling “storybook homes” to buyers looking for that extra something special. Audrey may be absent in Laurel’s everyday life, but she looms large – the duo’s twin beds remain pushed together in their shared childhood room, a bulletin board touts her many accomplishments (Laurel’s board holds but one ribbon), and an imminent birthday visit thrills Laurel.

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Here’s a tip, indie producers, cast Zoe Kazan in anything and I’ll buy a ticket. Toss in Jake Johnson and I’m convinced someone cast this film out of my dreams. Deadline Portland reports that Kazan and Johnson will star in Jenee LaMarque‘s Black List script, The Pretty One, which was also a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship and Zoetrope screenplay contest. LaMarque will also make her directorial debut with the project, which is billed as an “offbeat comedy” that centers on Kazan’s as an “awkward but loveable young woman who is mistaken for her dead ‘perfect’ identical twin, and seizes the chance to masquerade as her sister. But when she falls in love with her twin’s eccentric next door neighbor, she finds herself wanting to live her own imperfect life, and have the truth come out.” Oh, man, sounds wacky! But also lovable…and possibly eccentric. There’s nothing quite like a good mistaken identity romantic comedy, and I’m sure the film will be rife with all sorts of missteps, awkward moments, and near-misses until some big, emotional reveal. Though that all sounds like standard stuff, the heaps of praise that the film’s script has received, along with this rising star cast, hint that perhaps we’re in for a surprise treat. Consider my ticket bought.

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