Disney's Enchanted is the sweet, lighthearted antithesis to the more serious fare this holiday season, fueled by a thoroughly captivating performance from Amy Adams.
Beware, parents. Your kids--especially your little girls--will want to see Enchanted over and over, whether you want to sit through all the sugary sweetness multiple times or not. The tale follows Giselle (Amy Adams), a beautiful and plucky young lass who is waiting for her Prince Charming--or, in this case, Prince Edward (James Marsden)--so she can live happily ever after as his princess. But Edward's stepmother, the evil sorceress Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), has no intention of giving up her throne. So before the happy couple can say "I do," Narissa banishes Giselle from her magical, musical animated land by pushing her down a well, thus sending her into the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn't operate on magical bliss, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall for Manhattanite Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce lawyer who has come to her aid, she wonders: Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world? By God, she's going to find out.
You might not think it would be tough to play an animated fairy-tale princess come to life in the real world, but try playing it with a straight face. Adams not only makes you believe Giselle is a living, breathing storybook character with her delicate mannerisms and unbearably sunny disposition, but she does so without giving you a toothache. Yes, Adams has to break into song on more than one occasion, as princesses-in-making are wont to do, but it's when Giselle starts to become more, well, human that the talented actress truly shines. For example, Giselle has never known anger, but when she loses it with Robert, Adams plays it with such wonder and amazement, it's infectious. Adams' Supporting Actress Oscar nod for her similarly cheery performance in Junebug wasn't a fluke; she could be looking at nomination No. 2. Trust me. The rest of the cast unfortunately pales in comparison, but they serve their purpose. Dempsey is adequately bewildered and enchanted by this strange girl he picks up in the middle of the street, while Marsden plays the prince with the right amount of cluelessness and bravado. Only Sarandon seems out of place as the evil queen. She looks great in the makeup and costumes, but the veteran actress goes just a wee bit over the top.
Not since 1992's Cool World has animated characters-turned-real people been so convincing. Of course, Enchanted takes things onto a much more PG-friendly path, with director Kevin Lima--having already directed Tarzan and The Goofy Movie--keying into that certain animated Disney mentality. Enchanted offers plenty of warm and fuzzy feelings--and should get your toes tapping during the original song and dance numbers. Giselle's theme song about finding one's true love, as she dances through Central Park, is one in particular you won't be able to get out of your head. I can see the Disney theme park attractions now. Yeah, so Enchanted isn't terribly inspired or all that innovative; it's not very funny, either. But after all the political, violent and ultra-serious movies this holiday season, its syrupy confection should provide some good old-fashioned family entertainment--and make you smile.
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.