Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2007. Walt Disney Pictures, Josephson Entertainment, Andalasia Productions, Right Coast Productions. Screenplay by Bill Kelly. Cinematography by Don Burgess. Produced by Barry Josephson, Barry Sonnenfeld. Music by Alan Menken. Production Design by Stuart Wurtzel. Costume Design by Mona May. Film Editing by Gregory Perler, Stephen A. Rotter.
Amy Adams simply could not be more endearing in this umpteenth sassification of classic fairy tales, as a storybook heroine who meets her handsome prince (James Marsden) in the world of Disney animation and goes to marry him the following day. Just before her wedding, however, the prince’s evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon, having so much fun being the baddie) thwarts their love in order to maintain her rule over the kingdom, pushing the girl into the castle fountain where she falls down a Carroll-ous hole and comes out the other side in live-action Times Square. Adams’ chirpy personality and undying belief in True Love’s Kiss don’t quite mesh with New York cynicism, but thankfully a disillusioned divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) takes her in (believing her to be a mental patient) and protects her until her knight can come and save her. While this sort of parody on archetypal love stories has been done to death (Shrek, etc.), this film can’t be written off as a mere exercise; sequences such as Manhattan’s vermin assisting Adams clean up an apartment or her leading all of Central Park in a musical number are inspired, and her skillfully charming performance is especially responsible for elevating the experience to the level of art. Features a tuneful score by Alan Menken that rides the line between kitsch and cute perfectly, some very impressive effects and an overall good feeling that isn’t ruined in the last third when the film holds on to its charm but loses some of its wiseass punch.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Original Song (“Happy Working Song”); Best Original Song (“So Close”); Best Original Song (“That’s How You Know”)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Amy Adams); Best Original Song (“That’s How You Know”)