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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Happily N’Ever After (review)

I have this whole big list of very specific things that are wrong with the half-assed, cheaply animated Happily N’Ever After, and it was only after I’d dedicated a lot of time and effort into pinpointing how the concept makes no sense here and the plot falls apart there and the characters — oy! — the characters don’t work at all that I smacked myself in the head and realized, What’s the point? I’ve already put more thought into this awkward, confused, painfully unfunny Shrek knockoff than the filmmakers did — if they didn’t care, why should I bother? They think they’re clever, giving Cinderella a punky brunette bob and a spunky go-girl attitude, forcing puns like “prince envy” that don’t even scan, and generally messing around with fairy tales so villains win, but the whole endeavor fails to rise even to the level of cute but silly: it’s just dumb. Freddie Prinze Jr. (Head Over Heels) as the voice of the scullery boy who’s in love with Cinderella is funny only accidentally, and as a commentary on the sheer lifelessness of the film itself — the dull-as-dishwater Prinze as a dishwasher! Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge) as the voice of Cinderella is likewise anonymously bland, but the real clue that this project was totally unsalvagable should have been that even the ingenious Patrick Warburton (Open Season), he of the slippery cool vocal acrobatics, can barely distinguish himself as the vapid Prince. There’s your unhappy ending.

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MPAA: rated PG for some mild action and rude humor

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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