‘Enchanted’: A ‘princess’ of a movie

Thu, 12/13/2007 - 5:20pm
By: Michael Boylan

“Enchanted” has been at or near the top of the box office since its release and it deserves to be in what can only be described as a weak holiday movie season. There are some great films out there for the adults, but choices for children and families are limited. Sorry, kids, no Harry Potter or Narnia this Christmas. “Enchanted” is a winner, though, certainly worthy of being included in the Disney pantheon of entertaining family films. A lot of credit is due to an amazing performance from Amy Adams.

Adams plays the newest Disney princess, Gisele, a bubbly, effervescent girl, enamored by all the woodland creatures and a prince named Edward, played as a goofy, golden boy by James Marsden. Edward’s step-mother, Narissa, will lose control of the throne if Edward and Gisele marry, which they intend to do after meeting. So, she sends Gisele to the very real world of modern day Manhattan. What follows is a fish out of water story mixed with a fairy tale set in the 21st century. Gisele meets a soon-to-be engaged divorce lawyer and his daughter and she turns their world, and his heart, upside down. Meanwhile, Edward and Gisele’s chipmunk friend, Pip, come to New York to rescue Gisele and Narissa’s henchman, Nathaniel, comes to thwart him so that he can please the queen and (hopefully) gain her favor.

Adams is outstanding and very worthy of all the Oscar buzz surrounding her. She carries the film with her delightful performance as a friendly princess coming to terms with finding real love and the emotions that are involved in that journey. The rest of the fairy tale cast also give good performances. Marsden, who was also solid in this summer’s “Hairspray” gets a lot of good laughs from his honorable doofus and Susan Sarandon is great as the deliciously evil Narissa, but there isn’t enough of her and her viper-like nastiness. Another fun performance comes from Timothy Spall as Nathaniel. Spall gets a lot of laughs as the bumbling henchman at war with the pesky chipmunk, who is a laugh riot himself. Potter fans will recognize Spall as Peter Pettigrew, aka Wormtail.

The real life characters aren’t as much fun. Patrick Dempsey’s, Robert, is a bit of a spoil sport to Gisele’s shenanigans at first and is just too straight of a straight man, while Idina Menzel, who plays his fiancée, Nancy, is not broad enough. In a story about an evil step-mother trying to ruin things for her step-child, the soon to be step-mother character could have been much more fun.

“Enchanted” only has one real problem. The first half of the movie is very silly and fun and the second half of the movie is less fun and starts to feel a little long. Still, if you haven’t seen this movie yet and have heard nothing but good things from everyone around you, check it out. I can practically guarantee it is the most satisfying family film you will see in theaters before next year.


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