Most of “Enchanted” is spoofily enchanting
There’s a beautiful princess (Amy Adams), her handsome prince (James Marsden), an evil step-mother (Susan Sarandon), poisoned apples, and a far away castle. Essentially everything you need in a classic Disney fairy tale. But “Enchanted” is something more, much more. For the first time, perhaps ever, Disney turns the reflecting mirror at itself, allowing some fun at its own expense. That’s one of the myriad of inspiring touches in a film that contains both old fashioned hand-painted animation and live-action. Oh, and music, delightfully marvelous music-care of Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Stephen Schwartz (“Prince of Egypt”) who together have enough Oscars to fill an oversized mantle. (They also collaborated on Disney’s somewhat underrated “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”) Adams is pitch perfect and sweetly ditzy as Giselle, the aforementioned beautiful princess who is pushed down a well and jettisoned through a dimension portal of sorts leaving the untainted environs of animated fantasy and ends up in the harsh real world–smack in the middle of Times Square. Though initially not pleased, to her rescue arrives handsome, single parent (naturally, it is a Disney movie after all) Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) and his cute daughter (Rachel Covey). The bulk of the movie concerns the handsome prince (Marsden is joyously and nobly clueless) searching for his one true love, while Giselle comes to grips with life in NYC and discovers another facet of amor-all leading to a difficult decision by movie’s happy-ever-after ending.
Despite a final 15 minutes that feels too formulaic, much of “Enchanted” is sprightly, funny, and whizzes along at a refreshing pace. CGI animals are employed to hilarious effect to help Giselle out of predicaments and a Central Park showstopper of “That’s How You Know” is practically worth the price of admission alone.
The film relies heavily on Adams who lit up the screen as the incredibly pregnant sister-in-law in 2005’s “Junebug.” She’s also had roles in “Catch Me If You Can” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Giselle requires a guileless innocence and relentless perkiness few actresses could muster. Unfortunately, in 2007 they don’t give awards for these types of cheerful but nevertheless demanding and nuanced performances, but Adams hits a veritable home run in a charming, family friendly film that would make Walt proud.
And that’s saying something.