Disney has pulled off a bit of a doozy with this amusing parody of its own oeuvre. Ostensibly a freewheeling blend of the ‘Snow White’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairytales, ‘Enchanted’ begins in conventional, animated Disney territory where pretty Giselle is being courted by Edward, her Prince Charming. His witchy mother, however, has an evil scheme on the boil and banishes Giselle to twenty-first century New York City.
At this juncture, the film flits from animation to live action just as Giselle (now Amy Adams), dressed to the nines in a flowing ball gown, emerges from a manhole into a world of bustling humanity. Her first real-world encounter is with divorce lawyer Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), who, despite sensing correctly that she’s well away with the fairies, eventually relents to her request for shelter and – lo and behold! – begins
to fall for the scatty lass. When Edward eventually appears (in the guise of James Marsden), Giselle is left facing a typically predictable rom-com dilemma.
At first glance, Kevin Lima’s contemporary urban fantasy looks hideously twee. It’s only when the story hits the streets of NYC and Adams starts hamming it up (much like Julie Hagerty did in ‘Airplane’) that we start seeing the fruits of a grand Mickey-take. Giselle is clearly on another planet; she swans around singing inane songs and delivering amusingly mundane fantasy lingo in a shrill voice. Had Adams (no relation) not hammed-up her performance to such a degree and, more pertinently, had the film taken itself seriously, one might otherwise have felt compelled to torch the screen. Instead, ‘Enchanted’ is one of the better family films of this year.