Enchanted (PG)



Family (2007)
107mins US

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Timothy Spall
Director: Kevin Lima
Writer(s): Bill Kelly
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

In the colourful, fairy-tale kingdom she calls home, Giselle is due to marry dashing Prince Edward, except his scheming and vindictive mother, Queen Nerissa is dead set against the union. So she pushes poor Giselle down a well and transports the girl into the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, where Giselle (now blood and flesh) struggles to make sense of a world where dreams do not come true and nobody sings when they are in love. By chance, Giselle meets dishy divorce lawyer Robert Philip and his young daughter Morgan, who are captivated by her sweetness and innocence.

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Enchanted

Every Christmas, there are certain films which seem to perfectly embody the festive spirit...

Giselle (AMY ADAMS), Prince Edward (JAMES MARSDEN) and handsome lawyer, Robert Philip (PATRICK DEMPSEY in ENCHANTED directed by Kevin Lima. Berry Wetcher. ęDisney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Whether it's a small boy flying through the air with an animated snowman, Alastair Sim's Scrooge realising the error of his ways, Bing Crosby dreaming of a White Christmas or Jimmy Stewart learning to value family life (with some prompting from an angel called Clarence), cinema has the power to create a warm, fuzzy glow to stave off the winter chill. More recently, we've been charmed by Les Mayfield's 1994 remake of Miracle On 34th Street, Tim Burton's deliciously twisted The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf starring Will Ferrell and Billy Bob Thornton's foul-mouthed, boozy Bad Santa. Now comes Kevin Lima's smart and sassy tale of a storybook princess at large in New York City, which cleverly upholds and subverts fairy-tale conventions to glorious and hysterical effect.

Giselle (AMY ADAMS) in ENCHANTED directed by Kevin Lima. Berry Wetcher. ęDisney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Combining animation and live action, Enchanted has all of the ingredients of a modern classic: great performances, rumbustious comic set pieces, a sprinkling of romance and just enough heartfelt holiday sentiment to draw a goofy, contented grin. Screenwriter Bill Kelly affectionately pokes fun at Disney's catalogue of fables and morality tales (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White et al), contrasting the idealism of the animated world with the cynicism and shattered dreams of the real world. When the two collide, it's hysterical. Thus, when the vivacious heroine sings for some animal pals to help her clean a New York apartment, her melodious call is answered by an army of rats, cockroaches and pigeons.

In the colourful, hand-drawn kingdom she calls home, Giselle (voiced by Amy Adams) is poised to marry her sweetheart, dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden), except his scheming and vindictive mother, Queen Nerissa (Susan Sarandon) is dead set against the union. In time-honoured tradition, Nerissa pushes poor Giselle down a well and transports the girl into the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, where Giselle (now flesh and blood, and still played by Adams) emerges from a manhole cover into a world where dreams do not come true and nobody sings when they are in love.

Giselle (AMY ADAMS) and Robert Philip (PATRICK DEMPSEY in ENCHANTED directed by Kevin Lima. Berry Wetcher. ęDisney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.By chance, Giselle meets dishy divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his young daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey), who are captivated by her sweetness and innocence. "Why are you staring at me?" Giselle asks Robert. "It's like you escaped from a Hallmark card, or something!" he replies, dumbfounded. "Is that a bad thing?" she wonders aloud. Giselle soon becomes a guest in Robert's home, to the chagrin of the lawyer's long-term girlfriend Nancy (Idina Menzel), who is waiting expectantly for him to propose. Meanwhile, Prince Edward follows Giselle into the real world to find his bride, unaware that the Queen's slobbering henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) is also at large in the city, armed with a supply of deadly poisoned apples.

Evil Queen Narissa/Hag (SUSAN SARANDON) and Prince Edward (JAMES MARSDEN) in ENCHANTED directed by Kevin Lima. Berry Wetcher. ęDisney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Enchanted is an absolute delight, with laughs and tears aplenty for audiences of all ages, and a couple of fantastically overblown musical numbers including a sing-song through leafy Central Park. Adams plays her role with boundless charm and childish innocence, immune to the rage or despair which seems to blight New York City and its loveless denizens. She invests herself completely in the character, without a hint of irony, and we fall headlong in love with Giselle, wishing we could gambol through life with such carefree grace. Dempsey is the perfect love interest, slowly mellowing under Giselle's tutelage, and Spall and Sarandon ramp up the hiss-boo factor as the pantomime villains who invariably get their comeuppance. A chipmunk called Pip (voiced by Jeff Bennett and Lima), who can talk in his cartoon habitat but is reduced to squeaks and miming in the real world, steals the show for younger viewers. Enchanted - you most certainly will be.

- Jo Planter

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