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Movie Review: Happily N’Ever After

Happily N’Ever After
Directed by Paul J. Bolger
Written by Robert Moreland

I’ve seen critic-proof family fare a lot in the past year, movies that have no real ambition other than to get your family out and waste time.  And hence, with the lack of ambition, these movies are pretty laid-back, usually not very good; probably a script someone took a chance with long ago and put their most starving production people on it, so they at least wouldn’t lose money having this script lying around, unproduced.

Cartoons have absolutely no trouble getting some name voice talent, because nowadays everyone wants to do this kind of work.  The films are usually profitable, and many of the actors have kids of their own and they want to be a part of something their kids can go to, and sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the script is like.

Happily N’Ever After concerns Fairy Tale Land, a place where all of our favorite fairy tales actually exist!  Up high in a castle there’s a wizard (George Carlin) who is responsible for keeping “the balance” of these timeless tales in check, lest a tale actually change and become, gasp, unhappy.  He has some sort of orb and a set of scales that let him do this, along with his assistants, Monk (Wallace Shawn) and Mambo (Andy Dick).

Our main story is Cinderella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), but there’s also a look into Rumpelstiltskin (Michael McShane), Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and the Seven Dwarves.  Cinderella, much like the fairy tale we know and love, wants to go to the ball, meet the prince (Patrick Warburton), and have the happy ending.  But, her cruel stepmother Frieda (Sigourney Weaver) makes it nearly impossible.  The prince’s servant, Rick (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), doesn’t see what Cinderella sees in the prince, and has an unrequited love for her.  As this story plays out, the wizard is going on vacation, leaving Monk and Mambo to mind the shop.  Mambo is tired of the same old storyline time after time, and wants to mix it up a bit.  His meddling leads to Frieda finding out about Fairy Tale Land’s balance and takes over, making all the fairy tales start taking a turn for the worse.

Well, this seems fairly intriguing but the script is awful.  It has one of those setups, where Rick is our narrator and he’s all hip and wink-wink to the world of fairy tales, like Shrek.  But as Shrek has an edge to it, a vision, Happily N’Ever After is very paint-by-numbers, and the wink-wink is very tired, so been-here-before.  But let’s not forget the other awful thing about HNA, the animation.  The colors are so washed out, second-rate.

Look, kids will like anything, so if you’re planning to go to this movie, they’ll be happy.  Anyone bringing kids to this movie probably won’t be, however.  It’s downright wretched.


Comment from KW
Time: January 5, 2007, 4:27 pm

Yet another movie I’ve never heard of.

One look at the poster and I could have written your last paragraph for you without even having seen the film.

Comment from The Projectionist
Time: January 5, 2007, 4:39 pm

Yes, unfortunately, I knew well before I watched this that it would suck. But, you know, that’s the life of a projectionist.

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