About twenty minutes into Enchanted, my balls fell off and I was able to enjoy it – more or less – as its intended audience: pre-pubescent girls. It starts with a cartoon of such sweetness that it made me feel an urge to brush my teeth. Soon the princess from this cartoon ends up in the real world – that is to say ‘ours’ – and the fun starts. She tries to find a way back to her world and her betrothed, a dumb prince whose Evil Stepmother tossed her out of fairyland. Soon other fairytale characters cross over to either help or hinder her, causing all sorts of funny mayhem. An animated squirrel changes into a computer-animated ‘real’ squirrel who now can’t talk but retains his intelligence. Meanwhile our princess falls in with a cynical divorce lawyer – literally – and his young daughter. As time goes on, she starts to be uncertain who her true love is. This is ultimately settled with a kiss, after which pretty much everyone lives happily ever after. The moral of the story is: true love exists, but it doesn’t just fall into your lap, you have to work at it.
There are plenty of charming touches throughout: when the princess sings in her cartoon, cute little forest animals assemble to put together a costume. When she sings in the real world, animals do respond – oddly – but since she is in New York, her helpers are pigeons, sewer-rats and cockroaches. She is also able to lead a park full of people into a spontaneous though choreographed dance routine. Leads Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey are both charming in spades and easily carry the movie, helped along by comic assist from Timothy Spall and James Marsden as semi-evil henchman and prince respectively. However, the squirrel tends to steal the show whenever around. Susan Sarandon is deliciously evil but criminally underused. The ending is suitably, soppily romantic, but the big climatic scene involving a murderous dragon doesn’t work: all build-up and no pay-off. This one is mostly for young girls and maybe not-too-cynical parents.