By Joe Neumaier
Updated November 01, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

A buddy flick so sensitive it makes The Big Chill seem frigid, Beautiful Girls is even more treacly on the small screen, where its ”guy talk” and chummy hugs feel forced. New York musician Willie (Hutton) takes flight from his girlfriend and commitment to attend his high school reunion, where the old gang (Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport) wrestle with dashed hopes. The titular objects of desire include the mistreated women in their lives (Mira Sorvino, Lauren Holly) and a visiting vision of perfection (Thurman). In the one bright spot of director Ted Demme’s otherwise mopey film, Willie initiates a sweet friendship with a much younger beautiful girl, his 13-year-old neighbor, Marty (Natalie Portman, who gives the film’s liveliest performance). In the end, her maturity is miles more interesting than any of the film’s emotionally stunted adults. C