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Happily N'Ever After

From the producers of the Shrek series comes this annoying Shrek rip-off—a wannabe fairytale spoof with no imagination.


Happily N'Ever After centers on what would happen if the classic fairytales we all love didn't have happy endings, if the villains actually won out in the end. When the wizard (George Carlin)—who maintains the age-old balance between good and evil in Fairy Tale Land—goes on vacation, his incompetent assistants (Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn) make a mess of things, opening up an opportunity for Cinderella's evil stepmother, Frieda (Sigourney Weaver), to take control and call in all the bad guys. Meanwhile, Cinderella, aka Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), tries to get her beloved Prince Charming (Patrick Warburton) to save the day—except he is a nincompoop, too. Actually, the real hero is the Prince's dishwasher, Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who secretly loves Ella. Not too hard to figure out how this ever after will end.


Gellar and Prinze Jr. are as bland in voice as they are on screen, playing the two potential lovebirds with very little enthusiasm, while the "hilarious sidekicks" Dick and Shawn totally overdo it as the bumbling wizard assistants, even if Dick does have a few laugh-out-loud moments. Warburton does he's usual dumb guy routine, and Carlin is completely wasted. The only one who seems to tap into her character succinctly is Weaver as the wicked Frieda. Of course, playing someone evil is always more fun—especially a fairytale villainess, CGI-created as a cross between Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Madonna. Weaver certainly works the look.


Last year's Hoodwinked—which took the Little Red Riding Hood tale and turned it into a CSI meets Rashomon—tried to satirize and modernize the fairytale genre. Now we have Happily N'Ever After. While their premises are indeed clever and the CGI animation crisp, they fail to deliver a strong story to back up the initial idea. Happily just feels slapped together for the kiddies' sakes, with a few dull attempts at adult references. It's not a good sign when even your kid sitting next to you starts to zone out halfway through the movie. Also, the fact there are about six different animation houses and production companies attached to the project doesn't bode well. I think it's probably just best to keep the fairy tale spoofs to the Shrek professionals.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.