Sunday, February 15, 2009

ELLA ENCHANTED (2004)

CHICK FLICK FANTASY TIP: Never sass your ghetto fairy Godmother.

THE CARD:

A porcelain princess that’s not my crapper, an enchanted rack, Black Prince Down, a sober Patsy, a silly sarcastic talking book not written by Ann Coulter, a litigious elf, Shrek the Cannibal, Westley all grown up and evil, a slithery posthumous jab at Charlton Heston, a sassy Fairy Godmomma, and Nudge-Nudge Wink-Wink the Narrator.

More details here.

THE ANGLE:

Ella (Anne Hathaway) got jipped. Born in the village of Frell in a mystical kingdom, she was unfortunate enough to inherit feisty Lucinda (Vivica Fox) as her half-assed fairy godmother. Upon Ella’s birth, Lucinda cast a spell on her to become a perfect, obedient child. That is, Ella must stop whatever she is doing and is forced to obey any command. As you can imagine, the spell becomes a curse, but Ella grows to become a strong young girl with the will to do good and change the injustices she sees in the kingdom. But when she gains an evil stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and snotty stepsisters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham), her life becomes a torturous fairy tale cliché. Obsessed with the handsome king-to-be Prince Char (Hugh Dancy), Hattie is determined with win him over and become queen and when she learns of Ella’s curse, she commands her to do her will, give up her jewelry, steal from the local merchants, and end all her friendships. Meanwhile, the evil Prince Regent Uncle Edgar (Cary Elwes) and his vile talking snake Heston (Steve Coogan) plots to dispose of Char and continue his reign of enslaving giants, killing ogres, and forcing elves to sing and dance. Frustrated and fed-up, busty Ella is persuaded by house fairy and novice sorceress Mandy (Minnie Driver) to hit the road and seek out Lucinda to get the curse lifted. With the aid of a talking book (Jimi Mistry) and reluctant lawyer-wannbe elf Slannen (Aidan McArdle), she sets out in the wild looking for an end to the spell. Along the way she meets Prince Char and the two verbally spar, kick ogre butt crack, sing and dance giant karaoke, and yeah, fall in love. But the treacherous Edgar, upon learning of Ella’s condition, tricks her into plotting Char’s murder, but with the help of her wacky crew of disenfranchised misfits, Lucinda’s alcoholism, the spirit of her dead mother, ninja fighting moves, and her glorious boobs, Ella may just find the strength within her to end the non-monthly curse, score a castle, and win over a handsome dope.

THE FINISHER:

Ella Enchanted is an exuberant twist on the familiar fairytale: a young girl overcomes tremendous challenges to find herself and land the man of her dreams. The retelling of this storybook tale owes much to the recent slate of older-child to young adult fantasy fare such as Stardust, Ever After, Shrek, and A Knight’s Tale. And while the fun-loving spirit, current cultural references, and terrible pop music coupled with fantasy critters and caricatures is present and often chuckle-worthy, there is a lack of character development and effort into fully realizing the mythical place of Ella’s adventures. Also problematic is the character of Ella herself. She is introduced as a strong principled woman whose beliefs often land her in hot water (literally) and who despite her curse opposes the segregation and exploitation in the kingdom and stands up for the little guy (literally). But these strong character traits are undermined by the romantic subplot in which she gives in to the dashing ways of the well-meaning but brutally formulaic regal boy toy. But lifting these otherwise fatal flaws is the energetic, luminous presence of Hathaway. I can’t imagine that those puppy dog eyes, fully blossomed lips, and gossamer skin could not melt even the hardest or most fruity hearts of filmgoers. On second thought, maybe I should see some recent Hathaway before committing to that notion. Nonetheless, Ella Enchanted will still find love with its targeted audience who love the pop-song covers, slapped-together romance, Jewy elves, plumber’s crack ogres, silly dance numbers, and ludicrous wire-fighting scenes. It has just enough wit and charm to make it watchable and recommendable enough for that mall-obsessed, self-conscious, disobedient brat in your life.

1 comment:

Ella Disenchanted said...

HOly crap, dude. are you kidding me? this was a terrific movie!!@@!