A modern twist on a children’s fairy tale romance, 'Enchanted' could be described as 'Shrek' for girls.
This mainly non-animated film is ingrained with nods to both classic and modern fairytales - from 'Snow White' to 'King Kong' - while at the same time it mocks, dissects and turns the very tales it tells on their heads.
The film opens like a classic fairy story with a setting based in a far-away land. Giselle (Adams) is a beautiful singing, animal loving princess who is about to marry her heroic troll-fighting Prince Edward (Marsden). However, Edward’s evil step-mother (Sarandon) does not want to be dethroned and tricks the bride-to-be into tumbling down a magic well.
Giselle emerges out of a manhole into a busy, brash, Times Square, New York City as a real life woman with no idea where she is or how the real world works. She is eventually taken in from the streets by a no-nonsense, divorce lawyer Richard (Dempsey) and his fairytale loving daughter Morgan (Covey).
Dim-witted Prince Edward, Pip the chipmunk and the queen’s sidekick follow to rescue Giselle. But the evil queen has hatched a plan to ensure the pair don't reunite.
There is plenty of humour in this rich, pacey film, generated by the adjustment of the two-dimensional fairytale characters to the real world.
When Giselle calls on New York’s animals to help clean her host’s apartment, as she did in the enchanted forest, she attracts all of the city’s dirtiest vermin. The ensuing scene of singing and cleaning rats and cockroaches is one of many brilliant moments where fable clashes with fact.
In other scenes Prince Edward battles a mighty bus like it is a dragon while Giselle embarrasses Richard by breaking into song in the middle of Central Park.
Mothers and daughters may swoon over 'Grey’s Anatomy' star Patrick Dempsey but he is well cast as Richard and is not dissimilar to the McDreamy character he is so well known for.
Amy Adams has a lot to live up to in embodying Disney’s animated princess, but admirably balances Giselle’s innocence and depth. James Marsden’s ability to carry off the shallowness of Prince Edward adds much comic value.
Unlike some recent children’s films (like 'Ratatouille'), 'Enchanted' does not have the depth to give it wide adult appeal. Despite its twists and turns it does not venture too far beyond the fairy story formula. However, when it does it is sometimes clever, often funny and definitely enjoyable.