Enchanted is one part tribute to the classic Disney fairytales, one part satire, gently poking fun at the familiar tropes that pepper those stories. In many ways, it is a very clever movie, taking standard stereotypical characters and giving them new life with unique personality traits. Ironically, the weaker characters are those from the real world.
When Disney-style maiden Giselle (Amy Adams) encounters Prince Edward, it is love at first sight and the two plan to marry immediately. However, Prince Edward (James Marsden) has a jealous step-mother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), who knows the wedding will lead to her losing her crown. Through sorcery, she transports Giselle to the real world, landing her in the middle of New York City. She meets a divorce lawyer, Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and his young daughter who agree to shelter her until she can find her way home. Robert is jaded about love after his wife left him and his daughter, but plans to propose to his long-time girlfriend (Idina Menzel). As Giselle and Robert get to know each other, they share their ideas on love, falling for each other in the process, only to have Prince Edward emerge, wanting to take Giselle home, followed by Queen Narissa who wants to make sure their wedding never happens.
This film was a star-maker for Amy Adams who shines as Giselle. She does the Disney princess voice better than anyone and has all the mannerisms down pat. It’s also fun to watch her learn about being angry and how to have meaningful conversations with people. The filmmakers have a lot of fun with Giselle and having this cartoon character encounter real life. A stand-out scene is when Giselle enlists the help from the animal kingdom, a la Snow White, to clean Robert’s apartment. Of course, she’s in New York, so she has to settle for cockroaches, rats, and pigeons.
Another actor who really knocks it out of the park with this one is James Marsden as Prince Edward. Everything he does in this film is hilarious and perfect. He walks that thin line of having 100% perfect self-esteem without being arrogant. He’s not a bad person, he’s just simple. It was a smart move to not make him obnoxious, because then it shows you how strong Giselle’s connection is with Robert for her to choose him over the prince. While Marsden is a very pretty man, he often plays the cuckold. This time, however, he get a happy ending too, marrying Robert’s girlfriend Nancy, who is content with being treated like a princess.
The weakest part for me is Patrick Dempsey as Robert. Dempsey is an odd case because he has leading man looks but isn’t charismatic enough to carry a film. Broadway darling Menzel is also miscast as the brash girlfriend who tries too hard to befriend Robert’s daughter. One of the insider jokes about the film is they put Idina Menzel in a film that involves singing and then makes sure she’s the only one who doesn’t sing.
Enchanted is a fun movie, definitely worth checking out. While it seems like it would be a complete chick flick, the fairytale humor is relatable to all.
Prince Edward: Go ahead, Pip. What is it you want to say?
Pip in New York: [clears his throat, squeaks] You with me.
[rubs “hands” together and points to Nathaniel, trying to tell Edward that Nathaniel is a traitor]
Prince Edward: Nathaniel?
Pip in New York: [squeaking] Uh-huh. Nathaniel.
Prince Edward: Nathaniel’s glad to have me near.
Pip in New York: [squeaking] No-no-no-no-no!
[imitates Nathaniel and then scurries to a soda cup indicating that he saw Nathaniel talking to Narissa in a boiling pot and made three apples appear]
Pip in New York: Broop, broop, broop.
Pip in New York: [takes a piece of ice as if it were an apple. Imitates Nathaniel again] Giselle.
[imitates Giselle singing “True Love’s Kiss”]
Prince Edward: Oh, I know this one.
Pip in New York: [as Nathaniel] Apple?
Pip in New York: No, thank you.
Pip in New York: It’s good.
Pip in New York: Oh, okay.
[crunches on the ice and imitates death and then strikes a “tada” pose and waits for Edward’s interpretation]
Prince Edward: You feel you’d die without me here.