ENCHANTED

Here is a film both paying homage to, and skewering the cliches of Disney films past, a fairy tale for the modern age. As the film opens, we are transported to an animated kingdom somewhere far far away where Giselle, a princess prone to singing and having all kinds of creatures join her in her chores, is soon banished by Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), the wicked stepmother of Giselle’s beloved Prince Edward (James Marsden). Giselle goes down a well and arrives in a sewer underneath Times Square. Next thing she (and the audience) realizes she’s in live action. Soon, Prince Edward follows her with Giselle’s faithful chipmunk Pip and the Prince’s own nefarious manservant Nathaniel (Timothy Spall, who even animated looks just like him!) in tow, and we’re off to the races. But one fateful night, Giselle meets a handsome, single father named Robert (Patrick Dempsey of TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), who is as cynical and jaded as they come – he’s a divorce lawyer. Giselle enters his reality and livens up New York City in the process. Of course, Robert is engaged to the not especially bad and really rather fetching Nancy (Idina Menzel), but his young daughter has her sights set on Giselle as a potential new mother. Amy Adams (“Junebug”) again plays a vulnerable young woman with a sweet naivety and an infectiously charming disposition; she could (possibly literally) bring the sun out at night. At first, we’re wondering if she isn’t completely insane; after a while, you learn to go with the flow. Sarandon is suitably evil when she’s on screen (she spends most of the film animated and/or as a CGI creation). Timothy Spall can play kind and gentle, low and sadsack, or maliciously evil (see him in Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”) whenever he sees fit, and slips easily in and out of the audience’s favor as the sidekick whose loyalties are somewhat wavering. The direction by Kevin Lima (“Tarzan,” “102 Dalmatians”) is light and nimble; we’re talking feather-light here. I’m not the target audience, but I enjoyed this little fusion of fairy tale cliche and modern sensibilities. It’s a crowd-pleasing romantic adventure and a major spotlight for Amy Adams; she really makes this shine.

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