Sly Princess is Enchanting
"Enchanted" begins as an animated tale set in the land of Andalasia. Young, warbling Giselle seems all set for a happy life with Prince Edward, but Edward's mother, Queen Narissa, doesn't like her and throws her down a magic well, which is some sort of nutty portal to another world — live-action New York City. (This isn't a film that blends animation and live action, a la "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"; it's more a one-or-the-other deal.) The prince, played by James Marsden, and a chipmunk follow her into live-action land, as does the Queen's confidant (Timothy Spall). So does the queen, played by Susan Sarandon.
Giselle's protectors in New York are a cynical divorce attorney (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter (Rachel Covey). Idina Menzel, who won a Tony for "Wicked," plays Dempsey's fiance, and while we're on the subject of "Wicked," let's just say "Enchanted" wants in on "Wicked's" popularity so badly it practically drools.
Director Kevin Lima ("102 Dalmations") and screenwriter Bill Kelly reference half the Disney canon in "Enchanted," from "Sleeping Beauty" to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." In the end, Sarandon (lively in a predictable role) transforms into a dragon, and while I thought "Beowulf" was only fair, the "Beowulf" dragon could eat the "Enchanted" dragon for brunch.
Through good scenes and derivative ones, Adams is disarming. She played the pregnant hometown girl in "Junebug," as well as the nurse with the braces in "Catch Me If You Can," and the way she combines irrepressible high spirits with slyly subversive comic wiles in "Enchanted," she's every Disney princess in one ebullient package.
A key scene early on has Giselle singing one of the score's Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz songs with half of New York in Central Park, and it works; director Lima and the songwriters build the sequence deftly, ending with a sight gag of Prince Edward getting creamed by cyclists (it's in the trailer) that seals the deal.
Ten years ago Adams was doing "The Varsity Drag" in a revival of "Good News" at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in suburban Minneapolis. She was great. Now everybody knows it.
Get showtimes and movie details for "Enchanted."