Directed by Tommy O'Haver, starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aidan McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch, Jennifer Higham, Minnie Driver, Jimi Mistry, Eric Idle and Vivica A Fox.
Set in a modern day fairytale kingdom, 'Ella Enchanted' is the story of Ella (Hathaway), who is given the gift of obedience as a baby by the fairy Lucinda (Fox). While this makes Ella a model child, it also means she has little free will in what she does.
When her mother dies, only Ella and the household fairy Mandy (Driver) know about the gift. But it's not long before her financially needy father remarries and Dame Olga (Lumley) and her spoilt daughters Hattie (Punch) and Olive (Higham) arrive to make Ella's life miserable. It's vindictive Hattie who discovers Ella's secret and proceeds to take full advantage.
Meanwhile, Sir Edgar (Elwes) and his nephew, the heir to the throne, Prince Char (Dancy) visit Ella's hometown. Disapproving of Edgar's cruelty to ogres and elves, Ella leads a protest against government and ends up meeting Char while he attempts to escape his female admirers.
Ella soon decides that enough is enough and sets off in search of Lucinda, hoping she will take back the gift. On the way, she meets Slannen (McArdle), a disgruntled elf, who wishes to become a lawyer. The pair cross paths with Char, he and Ella fall in love and it becomes more important than ever for Ella to rid herself of her curse, lest she lose the man she loves forever.
There are some nice touches here. Ella's social conscience gives the tale a little more meat than the usual fairytale and Hathaway, Dancy and the Irish scenery look good. But, though the old Cinderella rehash might still make money, there's only so many times you can redo the same story and it's not on a par with the more sophisticated kids movies these days.
'Ella Enchanted' is a hopelessly corny movie, complete with musical numbers, but it's cheery and fun. If you must see a fairytale, this is one of the better ones.