Time: 107 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.
SYNOPSIS: The beautiful princess Giselle is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn't operate on a "happily ever after" basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment.
BOTTOM LINE: Mixing animation with live action is a tricky business, but Lima and company manage to find that fine line between fantasy and reality and create a uniquely winning romantic comedy that will surely appeal to women of all ages. Even if you don't believe in fairy tales, Amy Adams sparkling performance as a cartoon princess brought to real life in the modern world of New York City will have you quickly under this film's spell. Her performance as Giselle is filled with such exuberance, innocence and determination she just has to be reunited with Prince Edward (Marsden) that you can't help but be instantly and constantly charmed by her. That the filmmakers poke fun at the animated genre she was just banished from and manage to incorporate her world into ours is quite a feat and cleverly done.
Demspsey has the somewhat thankless role of the straight man in this story, playing Robert Philip a single father and cynical divorce lawyer who doesn't believe in true love. In fact, he makes a living because people don't live happily ever after and though obviously charmed by Giselle, he initially thinks she's a complete loon and tries to nicely get rid of her. Yet there's just something about her positive outlook on life and love that begins to get under his skin, causing him to begin to rethink his position on romance. Of course, while they're falling in love, Prince Edward and a few other creatures from Andalasia have their own misadventures in the Big Apple in their quest to find Giselle. The prince's mother, Queen Narissa (Sarandon), thought she had the situation under control when she banished Giselle to New York, but the incompetence of her henchman forces her to come to New York to destroy Giselle once and for all, so she can retain her place as Queen.
It's this section of the story that sort of falls flat and renders everything but the burgeoning romance between Giselle and Robert as useless and silly. Marsden is hilarious and makes the most of his role as the dim-witted prince on a mission to save his princess, but the attempts by the queen's pawn (Spell) to kill Giselle with poisoned apples wear thin pretty quickly. The ending is also completely over the top, but this is a fairy tale after all, so one can't complain all that much. Let's just say that the evil queen tries to ruin the party and gets what's coming to her, while Giselle and Prince Edward discover that the road to true love is far more complicated than their sweet songs led them to believe. Adams star-making turn and a well-conceived story make this sweet and romantic tale one to watch.