Banished from Andalasia by her fiance’s stepmother, Giselle (Amy Adams) enters the baffling world of Manhattan in Enchanted. ©Disney Enterprises, All rights reserved/Barry Wetcher/SMPSP
Enchanted was the most refreshing surprise of the 2007 Hollywood roster. A Disney spoof on Disney, this brilliant fusion of musical comedy with animation was penned in gold by Bill Kelly (Premonition, Blast from the Past).
Enchanted features a lovely character named Giselle (Amy Adams) who gets ejected from her cartoon paradise of Andalasia into the land of Happily Never After, a.k.a. Manhattan. And there in the un-enchanted city streets she encounters foreign emotions like anger, doubt, and cynicism in the likes of Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a dashing but tense divorce lawyer and single dad, whose fiancée-to-be is strung equally tight.
The film opens in the animated world of the lovely Giselle, when she meets her true love, Prince Edward. But on their wedding day, Edward’s evil stepmom, Queen Narcissa (Susan Sarandon), lures Giselle toward a deep well, where she falls and tumbles endlessly, only to emerge through a manhole in Times Square still dressed in her wedding gown.
From that point onward, the film had me hooked. I was putty in the hands of a savvy writer who knows how to navigate comedy. And more than a clever story, Enchanted was a three-time Oscar nominee for best original music by Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz. There’s a show-stopping number in Robert’s apartment where Amy rallies her animation animal friends for a cleaning sing-along. And a foot-stomping number in Central Park where Giselle explains to Robert how her Prince will rescue her, and how to know when you find true love.
What makes comedy succeed is the clever juxtaposition of opposites. And what makes this film especially irresistible is how the parody never lets up. Enchanted is a brilliant fairy tale making fun of itself.
In recent years, happy has not been a Hollywood theme. Sin, violence, deception, and betrayal are as optimistic as Tinseltown gets. Enchanted is the long overdue entertainment tonic that will keep you laughing after you exit the theater and leave you wanting a regular dose of whatever it’s dishing out. If laughter is the best medicine, this movie is the perfect Rx. A
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