The first two-thirds of Disney's Enchanted is sweet, charming, almost-perfect, can't-wipe-the-smile-from-your-face fun. Simply put, it's endearing and, well, enchanting. When I saw the film, the theater was filled with young girls buzzing with giddiness, laughter and wonder. What little girl wouldn't love having a princess—complete with big poofy dress—to sing with and go shopping?
But it's not just for kids. It's funny, inventive and clever. The movie also works on a second level by lovingly evoking Disney's classic canon. Enchanted references everything from Snow White to The Lion King with both gentle satire (like "Happy Working Song" where real-life rats and pigeons help a cartoon princess clean a New York apartment) and sly references (pay attention to little details and character names). If nothing else, it's worth seeing for the wonderfully cartoonish performances of Amy Adams (Junebug) and James Marsden (X-Men) as the real-life versions of a classic Disney princess and her prince charming. They are magnificent.
Speaking of excellence, the music is by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz (the duo behind Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The songs are very good—especially "That's How You Know," a massive song-and-dance set piece in Central Park. It's possibly one of the most fun film sequences in a long time, leaving my screening crowd reeling with laughter and contagious smiles.
Unfortunately, the movie can only maintain its top-flight magic for so long. Near the end, the movie falls into predictability and cliché, and—most concerning for parents—sends mixed messages. But when Enchanted is at its best, it's very, very good.
The fun begins in classic two-dimensional animation with ...1