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ENCHANTED(director: Kevin Lima; screenwriter: Bill Kelly; cinematographer: Don Burgess; editor: Stephen A. Rotter/Gregory Perler; music: Alan Menken/with songs by Mr. Menken and Stephen Schwartz; cast: Amy Adams (Giselle), Patrick Dempsey (Robert Phillip), James Marsden (Prince Edward), Timothy Spall (Nathaniel), Idina Menzel (Nancy Tremaine), Rachel Covey (Morgan Phillip), Susan Sarandon (Narissa), Kevin Lima and Jeff Bennett (Pip); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Barry Josephson/Barry Sonnenfeld; Walt Disney Pictures; 2007)
“It makes for good family viewing.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Kevin Lima (“Tarzan”/”A Goofy Movie”/”102 Dalmatians”) joyfully directs this Disney classic fairytale story and gives it a modern twist–the damsel rescues the prince. It makes for good family viewing, whereby it’s pleasing to both child and adult. It’s basically the ‘Snow White’ story retold, but gets a reality check by showing its live action in a bustling New York City–“the place where there are no happily-ever-afters.” The opening ten minute scene is animated in a fairytale land called Andalasia. The pretty sweetheart Giselle (Amy Adams) is rescued from a monster by the handsome and dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden), and he proposes to her on the spot. But Edward’s wicked stepmother, evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), shoves the naive Giselle down a deep well and she comes up from a manhole cover and lands in the busy streets of Times Square–pictured as hell. The motivation behind this evil act, is because the bitchy Queen Narissa is afraid that Giselle will steal her crown.

Giselle, though ever cheery and optimistic, is confused by the crowds, is drenched by a downpour, feels out of place walking around in a wedding dress, and when she tries to befriend a homeless man she’s robbed of her crown. Mistaking the castle on a billboard for real, she’s rescued while falling down from the billboard by single parent divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey), whose 6-year-old daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey), has no trouble buying into Giselle’s tale that she’s about to become a princess. The cynical Robert allows Giselle to spend the night in his luxurious apartment. But there’s a misunderstanding when Robert’s girlfriend for the last five years and would-be wife Nancy (Idina Menzel), comes over in the morning and finds the attractive Giselle, clad only in a towel, sitting atop of Robert, clad in pajamas, just outside the bathroom. Robert can’t shake Giselle in Central Park and relents to let her stay. Also coming down the well to the Big Apple is the evil queen’s henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), his orders are to kill Giselle with a poison apple. He’s followed to NYC by the charming guileless prince Edward, a song-and-dance man in costume and brandishing a sword, and the friendly to Giselle animated chipmunk named Pip (the voice of Kevin Lima and Jeff Bennett). When Nathaniel fails to poison Giselle, Narissa magically appears at a NYC ball and in a CGI climax is prevented from killing Giselle. Everything gets resolved in the usual magical Disney way, as the fairytale story that mixes live action with animation comes to a happy Once Upon A Time ending.

The lighthearted and corny happily-ever-after film has some genuine fun gently spoofing its fairytale lineage without losing its fairytale story, the songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz though bland were easy to take, the upbeat sugary story not meant to be believable but awe inspiring was just that and James Marsden took the mickey out of everybody with his wonderfully uplifting humorous performance. Everything about the film made it easy to let your hair down and get with the wicked fun even if you really do not trust a Disney heroine whose posse consists of forest animals and she courts only handsome men with either titles or wealth.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”