Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Movie Review: Enchanted

A Man Card violation is a serious offense. Holding your special lady friend’s purse while she shops, watching figure skating on ESPN2 when it’s an NFL Sunday, and drinking beverages that combine the name of a fruit with “tini” are three such violations. Enchanted is similarly a dicey proposition. With at least one extravagant, over-the-top song-and-dance routine about true love, an all-women shopping spree while bubblegum poppy music plays in the background, and a slow dance between the two main characters with a weepy love song that sounds like the evil spawn of Michael Bolton and James Blunt, a man could be forgiven for his trepidation about this movie.

Despite these potential crotch-killing features, Enchanted is actually a pretty funny movie, with enough humor so that the men out there won’t need to feel guilty about watching it.Enchanted stars Amy Adams as Giselle, a simple girl from Andalasia who sings to the animals, dreams of her one true love, and is so happy that it’s likely she’s been living on a Percocet drip feed since birth. Meanwhile, Price Edward (James Marsden) is busy wearing purple costumes with puffy sleeves, keeping his teeth freakishly white, and trying to convince the world that he’s not homosexual. Their paths eventually cross when Edward rescues Giselle from the vile clutches of a troll. They fall in love and, in true Hollywood fashion, plan to get married the very next day. A call is made to Us Magazine to generate interest from the paparazzi.

But, alas, there are complications. Edward’s mother, the evil queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), has a serious Freudian complex and is opposed to her little Eddie getting married. On the two lovebirds’ wedding day, she tricks the bride-to-be and pushes her into a wishing well. Giselle is sent hurtling to a place so vile, so evil, so horrific, so dastardly that it can only be described in two words: New York. In a hilarious series of scenes, she emerges from a sewer and is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of a land entirely different from Andalasia. This new land is one of honking car horns, gridlocked traffic, and strategic product placement. She wanders the cold, lonely, unforgiving streets of New York aimlessly, and is briefly forced into a life of prostitution as she finds the job market for super-sweet singing Andalasians isn’t very good (wait, wrong movie).

Eventually Giselle scales a billboard that advertises the Palace Casino, thinking it’s actually a castle where she can find food, water, and a refill for her Percocet drip. As fate would have it, Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) just happens to be taking a taxi home from his law office, when his daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey) spots the red-haired woman stuck on the billboard. Giselle is coaxed down by the lawyer, though it’s not a storybook landing as she lands on him and he complains about an injury to his elbow.Giselle is taken back to Robert’s place, where, after several glasses of Pinot, he convinces her to pose naked while he throws salami at her (wait, still the wrong movie). Actually, she sleeps on the couch, and the next morning calls various rodents, birds, and vermin to clean the apartment. Things get a little hairy when Robert’s soon-to-be fiancée Nancy (Idina Menzel) stumbles into his place to find a bubbly redhead wearing only his towel. Since this is a Disney movie, he later explains that nothing happened, minus the salami tossing, and she’s eventually convinced.

Meanwhile, Edward has vowed to find Giselle. Emerging from the same sewer lid, he immediately accosts several Verizon employees at swordpoint. He’s eventually followed by Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), who’s been dispatched by the queen to ensure that Edward fails in his attempt to rescue his brdige, and that Edward also avoids getting shanked on the subway because of his purple, puffy-sleeved ensemble. After some hilarious misadventures (including one where Edward slays the “steel beast,” i.e. bus), the prince manages to find Giselle in the apartment. But she’s no longer the simple Andalasian girl he fell in love with about eight hours earlier. A non-date at a pizza parlor with Robert and a shopping spree with Morgan have shown her there’s more to love than flowers, chirping birds, and apologetic, drunken 3 am phone calls. She’s become a thoroughly modern New York woman and wants Edward to take her on a date.

The King and Queen ball just happens to be approaching, and from the beginning it’s obvious it won’t be a party to forget. The dancing is wild, various white powders are readily available, and the drinks are flowing. Narissa shows up in an attempt to ensure the marriage doesn’t happen. She somehow manages to trick Giselle again (this girl should know better by now); Giselle bites from the queen’s poison apple and immediately falls asleep like a narcoleptic at a bowling alley. With the clock approaching midnight and Giselle on her way to that great Disney Channel in the sky, Nathaniel reveals that the queen has poisoned her and that only the nectar of an Amazonian tree can save her. But all the Walgreens that have this nectar are closed, so they have to settle for True Love’s Kiss to revive her. Edward plants one on her, but nothing happens; he realizes that Robert is Giselle’s true love. Robert wakes her up with a kiss.

This enrages Narissa, who’s jealous of Giselle’s beauty, upbeat attitude, and easy access to Robert’s credit card. She turns into a fire-breathing dragon, destroys the ballroom, takes one last swig from the open bar, and snatches Robert as she scales the building. Giselle pursues the queen and rescues Robert; she even manages to send Narissa tumbling about 500 stories, where the queen splats into the pavement and has her jewelry stolen and pockets turned inside-out by street thugs. Giselle and Robert live happily ever after. Edward even pairs up with Nancy and takes her with him to Andalasia, where she’s clearly in for many unfulfilled nights. So everyone’s happy. Except for the evil queen, who’s being scraped off the sidewalk by the New York Sanitation Department.

Enchanted is a clever and funny movie, with enough humor to offset some of its more wimpy aspects. Disney manages to intelligently poke fun at its own dream world of eternal sunshine by contrasting it with the real world of people with relationship troubles. Giselle and Edward’s brand of optimism/lunacy is completely out of place in modern-day New York, and the movie’s “fish out of water” element is one of its biggest strengths. The actors are cast perfectly; Adams is great as Giselle and also can belt out a tune with gusto. For you guys out there, watch it with an open mind, and you won’t be disappointed.

After further review, Enchanted isn’t a total Man Card violation. It’s entertaining, humorous, and there’s enough sex and violence to keep men watching (okay, not really). There are many more things a man can do to lose his Man Card than enjoy this film. Like watching a Lifetime movie starring Kelly Martin during Super Bowl Sunday.

1 comment:

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