Enchanted (B-)

Fall in Love with a Singing Amy Adams, but not her Modern-Day Prince

What happens when a fairy tale princess falls down a well and lands in modern-day New York City?  NOTHING BAD if that princess is played by the charming, downright enchanting (there, I said it) Amy Adams.  With terrific songs by Alan Menken (Beauty & the Beast) and Steve Schwartz (Wicked)Enchanted is witty and self-aware without being the least bit cynical.  Your daughters will love it, and your sons will only pretend not to love it.

The movie is at its strongest when showing how Amy Adams’ storybook character, Giselle, impacts the “jaded” people in our world: delighting pedestrians by staging a colorful, musical number in Central Park, jolting would-be divorcees into taking their husbands back, etc.  Adams gets strong support from James Marsden as her clueless, vain Prince Charming and Susan Sarandon as an over-the-top evil queen.

But the movie drags when trying to meld Adams’ Giselle into ONE OF US.  Having firmly established that the real world is stolid and lacks magic, why would Giselle want to join it?  And the film’s way of showing her supposed “growth” is both dull and irritating.  Evidently, a truly “modern woman” is a fussbudget who demands information, LOTS of information, before joylessly choosing a suitor.  Indeed, according to this movie, the only “fun” bit of modern existence is shopping.  Thus, we see Giselle “grow” by running around Manhattan’s ritziest stores with a charge-card in a montage glorifying materialism.  Yuck.  The human embodiment of giving up fantasy comes in the form of Giselle’s modern-day true love: a cynical divorce lawyer played by Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy.  Dempsey makes the chalk-outline of a corpse look lively; so it is hard to believe that Giselle would leave her magical world just for him.

Still, this movie is worth watching for the animated sequence at the beginning and Adams’ musical numbers.

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