Tuesday, December 18, 2007


dir Kevin Lima

Not my usual fare but if one is feeling a bit jaded and out of sorts, why not enter the magical world of Disney, in which animals dance, heroines twirl and sing and a happy ending is de rigueur?

Indeed, Enchanted is the latest entry in the "ironification" of Disney, as the company has become aware of how out of step its values are in the modern, cynical world.

Thus, while would-be princess Giselle starts off in cartoon mode, regaling her animal friends with her search for "true love's kiss" from a handsome prince, about 15 minutes in, poor Giselle (Amy Adams, strangely reminiscent of a young Nicole Kidman) is stumbling around New York in her wedding dress, meeting unfriendly humans.

It's a clever hook, but, sadly, the film doesn't make the most of it. Despite knowing nods to Cinderella, Snow White, and other Disney classics, the jokes aren't quite sharp enough for an adult audience and the message seems quite traditionally Disney: true love comes to those who wait.

As our heroine lurches from one misunderstanding to another, with her prince (James Marsden) and chipmunk pal Pip in pursuit, it's only a matter of time before the happy ending arrives. The only question is which prince she chooses: the cartoon version or the single dad earthling (Patrick Dempsey) who befriends her.

For a brief moment when she and Dempsey are cavorting around Central Park and discovering the "King's and Queen's Ball", I thought there might be a foray into drag. Now that would have been an interesting culture clash. But no. A pity.

The funniest scene finds Giselle ensconced in Dempsey's apartment, intent on cleaning up the mess in her usual manner--getting the animals to do it. But, rather than cute woodland creatures, her call attracts more typical New York inhabitants--rats, cockroaches and pigeons---to tidy up as she sings merrily about getting work done.

The always watchable Susan Sarandon, playing the evil steopmother (and how come that stereotype is not challenged?), is restricted to one scene in the flesh, a rather flat climax which owes more to King Kong than Bambi.

No comments: