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Recommendation: Enchanted

March 25, 2010

When I first saw the preview for Enchanted, I was immediately aware of two things: I really wanted to see it, and I would probably never convince my husband to go see it with me in theatres. I would have to gather a good group of my (probably female) friends to see it with me.

Gathering friends to go see a movie is much harder now than when I was in college, because we all have jobs, and families, and, you know, lives, so I kept not seeing it and not seeing it. And I kept hearing more and more awesome things about it. My favorite story of how awesome Enchanted is came from a co-worker at the time, who went to see it with her friends. They went in the afternoon one day, and almost without exception, the other people in the theatres were young fathers with their children.

My co-worker guessed that the young father’s wives had dropped the fathers off with their children at the movie theatre and said, “Go, keep them occupied while I do more Christmas shopping.” Or, perhaps, “Dear lord, get this young ones out of my hair for two hours so I can have some me time.” Either way.

What are young father’s going to take their children to but the latest Disney movie. The thing that my co-worker thought was so funny, however, was that the fathers were laughing twice as hard at the movie as their children (Duh. Keep an eye out for my upcoming post on why animated movies and other “children’s” movies aren’t really for children at all.), and far more than my friend would have thought.

After hearing that, I knew I had to go see the movie as soon as possible.

Title: Enchanted

Summary: Enchanted starts out like any other classic Disney princess story: animated, a book telling the story of the story, a maiden in the forest (Giselle, played by Amy Adams), talking animals, a young prince (Edward, played by James Marsden), an evil step-mother, etc. It doesn’t take long for the prince to meet the forest maiden and decide that they are to be married. The evil step-mother, however, will not have her crown taken from her so soon, so she sends Giselle, to New York City, a “place where ‘Happy Ever After’ never happens.” At first glance it seems the evil step-mother is right. The only friendly person Giselle meets on her first day in New York is Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and he was being ironic. No one, not even cynical, sour Robert, can help but be charmed by Giselle, who waits patiently for her prince to come rescue her, while getting a lesson in the occasional harshness of “real life.”

Genre: Musical, Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Homage, Sappy But Awesome, Sincere and Heart-warming, urban fairy tale

Audience: Anyone. Seriously. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t find some enjoyment in the movie. Especially children and parents of young children, but really anyone.

Occasion: Spending time with kids, need an emotional boost, want to laugh, hanging out with friends

Watch every minute? You’ll laugh harder the first time if you watch every minute, but it’s not necessary. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to catch all the jokes the first time around. The movie certainly merits re-watching. There’s a ton of detail and hidden information packed into this movie. If you don’t believe me, check out the Wikipedia entry on the subject.

Big Screen vs. Small Screen: Great on the big screen, if you can get it, but any screen will do.

Why I liked it: Anyone who’s ever done musical theatre (and possibly anyone who’s ever watched a Disney movie) has wondered what it would be like if people in the “real” world ever broke out into song and dance like they do in the movies and musicals. Buffy did a play on the idea in one of their later seasons, and I know my friends and I have had a conversation about it more than once.

Well, Enchanted takes that idea and runs with it, and it’s hilarious. Instead of cute, furry forest animals answering Giselle’s song, she gets cockroaches, rats, and pigeons. When Giselle and Robert are walking through Central Park and Giselle starts singing, the street musicians star to play along and Robert asks, “How do they know this song? I don’t know this song.” The movie satirizes our lives, and your typical Disney princess movies, while also paying homage to them. It’s great fun. I challenge you to watch it and not be smiling by the end of it.

“Own it” vs. “Once is enough”: I’m really not sure why I have this category some days, because it seems like everything I recommend I also feel people should own. Perhaps in the future I’ll get rid of it as redundant, but for now, I will say that I think this one’s a keeper. Especially if you have young children, who will undoubtedly be amused by the songs and the antics of Giselle’s chipmunk friend Pip. And hey, you might not even hate having to watch or listen to it over and over again with them.

If you liked… You’ll also enjoy…: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, The Emperor’s New Groove, Mary Poppins… pretty much anything Disney has put out, really.

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