Witty, cute, charming, adorable, sweet, funny, romantic, entertaining, wholesome, enchanting … these are just a few of the many adjectives in this positive vein that I could come up with for this movie.
The premise is simple and there are no real surprises as the story unfolds. Amy Adams, an unknown actress to me but absolutely spot on as the soon-to-be princess Giselle, begins as a typical Disney cartoon maiden searching for ‘true love’s kiss.’ It comes in the form of Prince Edward, played by the perfectly chiseled James Marsden.
But like all fairy tales, there must be a wicked step-mother/Queen (Susan Sarandon) who attempts to destroy true love by sending Giselle away. Far, far away…. to New York City! Giselle is quite out of her element, but with true peppy, fantasyland optimism she patiently waits for her Prince to save her while whipping all of New York’s humans and animals into a singing and dancing frenzy.
Naturally Prince Edward does embark on a noble quest to rescue the fair maiden with brave chivalry and a fine singing voice as his weapons. And equally as naturally, the evil Queen does all she can to thwart the rescue. Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey gets caught up in the action, totally against his will and better judgment, but it is obvious in the first seconds where that part of the storyline is going!
As I said there are no real surprises, but that hardly matters one whit. The delight is in how it plays out. The joy is in watching Adams uncannily embody a cartoon fairytale princess down to the hand gestures, wide-eyed innocence and trust, and gown making skills. The thrill is in seeing Sarandon strut imperiously, wave her magically sparking hands, and cackle with evil glee. The humor is in the too-cute talking chipmunk and the fantasy meets real world craziness with gentle mockery of both. The charm is in being reminded again and again that true love can exist and conquer all obstacles. The sweetness is in knowing for cert that happily-ever-after will be the end to the tale.
Probably no shock coming from me, but I can heartily recommend this film. Valuable lessons of life and love are doled out liberally amid the amusing chaos. A true, family film!