I like to think I’m a pretty tough individual, even on a cellular level. So I don’t usually watch movies like this and I don’t usually get sick. A year or two ago I got some crud that really knocked me out, so while I was laying there a useless husk of my regular self I decided that God had opened a window – a window of opportunity for me to watch KILL BILL VOLUME 1 and VOLUME 2 in a row. The movie seemed even better in one sitting and I was healed the next day. Thanks God. You got good taste in movies.
So the next year when I got real sick I did the same thing, with the same success. Only trouble is when I got sick again this month and it was the worst I had in years. My KILL BILL treatment had been too recent, I didn’t know if it would work and I didn’t want to overdo it and create a KILL BILL-resistant supervirus. So I watched a bunch of other DVDs I had laying around.
But nothing worked. The shit was stuck in me. I watched alot of movies but they were hard to enjoy, they somehow left a bad taste in my mouth and brain. On about day 3, laying there in my feverish state, I became some kind of naturopathic theorist. My ideas were so revolutionary I could’ve been one of those doctors interviewed on THE SECRET. I decided that KILL BILL’s power was a two-tiered regimen: its classic fight scenes and high quality filmatism got my adrenaline level up, but it was the sweet ending, with the lioness crying in happiness that her cub has been returned to her, that really did the trick. The pure joy raised my metabolism or my anti-bodies or my something-something… you know the thing. The thing that makes you healthy, in my opinion. That meant what I needed was not the usual mayhem I watch but some kind of fluffy sweetness.
So I crawled to the video store and when I came back it turned out I had rented Walt Disney’s ENCHANTED.
You and your whole family will be enchanted by ENCHANTED. You’ll have a magical time. If you and your family ever dreamed of fucking a magic cartoon princess whose best friend is a squirrel then ENCHANTED is a dream come true. Is what Gene Shalit might’ve said. But personally I did not like ENCHANTED, I was disenchanted with it. (take that Shalit you fuck)
What this is is a high concept romantic comedy by way of a tribute to the old Disney animated movies from before they got all concerned about the environment and told everybody to draw on computers instead of paper. Its heart is in the right place I guess but they don’t have the skills to pull off what is really only a halfway there idea: an animated princess from a non-existent Disney fairy tale movie (depicted through actual hand drawn Disney animation) is sent through a magical portal and appears in live action (depicted by Academy Award nominee Amy Adams) in the “real” New York. There is no way to predict whether her naive ways will make it impossible for her to survive on the mean streets and it will turn into a DEATH WISH movie real fast or if she’ll bump into dreamy Patrick Dempsey just before his wedding and teach him to slow down and learn the lessons of a magical cartoon from another dimension so that he can stop working too hard and be happier and ditch his woman for a better looking lady who barely has a brain and literally doesn’t belong on this plain of existence but talks to animals and turns every day life into musical numbers. It could go either way, take your pick.
Dempsey of course is a divorce lawyer (how will he ever learn about love?) and a single father to a young girl (oh, what a sweet guy) and when his daughter spots live action Princess Giselle and her giant ball gown stuck on a billboard that she thinks is her castle he rightfully assumes she is a lunatic or perhaps a very, very well dressed and made-up crack ho. He tries to help her (like Eddie Murphy would do) and brings her to his apartment but then his fiancee thinks he’s fucking her (Three’s Company) and also Giselle ruins his drapes by making them into a dress, then humiliates him by singing as they walk through the park together. Of course, all the everyday New Yorkers they run into love her and instinctively take part in her musical numbers. It’s only the cold, shriveled heart of the leading man that can’t see that the magical toys of Mr. Magorium’s Magical, Magical, Magical Emporium are full of imagination, wonder and dazzle. Or that might’ve been a shitty trailer I saw but anyway this guy at first doesn’t understand the lessons of cartoon fairyland until something happens that makes him believe, and I will not give away what it is that happens. Because whatever it was I fell asleep during it. But when I woke up he presumably had learned that she is actually a cartoon and because she’s so nice and caring and knows how to enjoy life he starts to fall in love with her anyway.
Now I don’t want to seem like a backwards guy or some kind of anti-cartoon bigot like Bob Hoskins in ROGER RABBIT but I have to say that I am against this live action guy marrying this cartoon. There are alot of issues here, for example we learned in the movie COOL WORLD that if a live action guy fucks a cartoon girl it will destroy the very fabric of cartoon/live action reality. So guys, keep your dick in your pants. Or if you are a cartoon like Donald Duck then put some pants on. I know many live action youths had a thing for a cartoon lady such as a Betty Rubble or a Penelope Pitstop but that doesn’t mean those cartoon gals should come into the world of live action and that you should marry them. First of all Betty is already happily married to a nice hard working guy and has a kid, so that’s fucked up. Second of all, if you married Penelope Pitstop can you imagine, you couldn’t even drive to the store without some asshole grabbing your wife and tying her to some railroad tracks. What a pain in the ass. I know that opposites attract and everything but you gotta take into account if your lifestyles are compatible or not. A regular guy marrying a cartoon princess is like a spider marrying a fish. It’s just not gonna work.
In fact “opposites attract” is an important phrase to bring up because I think today’s acceptance of live action/cartoon love goes back 20 years to Paula Abdul’s famous video “Opposites Attract.” If you’re too young to remember I will just say that Paula Abdul, the alcoholic judge from Star Search or whatever it’s called now, was once a famous R&B pop singer and this was a video where she danced around and sang a duet with an animated rapping cat sporting a high top fade and a wifebeater. He’s also a very talented dancer who tap dances, moonwalks and, ironically, does the Roger Rabbit. In the video they sing about how different they are – one only watches movies, the other only watches TV (?), one has a more serious demeanor than the other, one goes to bed early while the other one stays up all night freebasing cocaine and having huge orgies on the roof of the house (“I party all night” the lyric says), only one of them smokes, one of them steals the covers while the other is very courteous about the covers, etc.
So they list alot of different things but they leave out the most important ones. For example, I don’t want to assume too much but I have a hunch that Paula Abdul uses a toilet while MC Skat Kat shits in a box. If I’m right about that then you gotta admit that is a pretty fuckin big lifestyle difference in my opinion, they shoulda mentioned that in the song. To be fair, if they were out on a farm somewhere and MC Skat Kat had to shit he would probaly dig a little hole and shit in it and then he would bury it. It would be way worse if she was dating Goofy. But you can see in the video that he lives in some sort of urban environment where it would be difficult to find a place to dig a hole for shitting in. In the concrete jungle he is equal to Goofy.
Anyway the important thing is I looked up Paul Abdul’s bio. Her mom was a concert pianist, she wasn’t raised on a farm. Paula studied broadcasting, left to become a Laker Girl, then she left that to become the choreographer for Janet Jackson’s videos and for movies (she worked on THE RUNNING MAN, ACTION JACKSON and even did Tom Hanks’s giant keyboard dance in BIG – no shit), and she already had three other huge smash singles by the time she made the catfucking video. So she was most likely used to some high livin. What I’m getting at is that in the circles she ran in those days I’m pretty god damn sure she wasn’t accustomed to dating people who shit in a hole in the backyard or in a box in the laundry room. Maybe that was part of the attraction, the whole bad boy/forbidden fruit thing, but I don’t know man. That oughta be a dealbreaker, in my opinion.
Now, I’ve seen the stand up comedy. I know that men are from one planet while women are from a different planet from the one the men are from, that women go to the bathroom in groups, men are always scratching their balls while they watch football to ease the pain of the women using their credit cards to go shopping (by the way that last one happens in ENCHANTED – his daughter has his credit card “for emergencies” like going dress shopping with a magical cartoon princess). But even though your lady or fella is gonna have different interests and tastes from you I’m telling you, there should be some overlap there. If not you’re gonna be miserable. This I fear is the case for Patrick Dempsey. I feel sorry for MC Skat Kat being a one-hit wonder, but he should thank the Egyptian cat gods that Paula ditched him for Emilio Estevez. That relationship would’ve driven him over the edge, next thing we’d hear he was stuck up a tree or ODd on catnip somewhere. Opposites may attract but that doesn’t mean they should stick.
Yes, Princess Giselle becomes a live action woman when she comes to New York. So that probaly solves the COOL WORLD dilemma. And makes this whole enterprise more biologically feasible. And yes, she could probaly be trained to use a toilet, although they most likely did not have that technology in her castle. It is also true that Amy Adams is gorgeous and adorable. So I can’t really blame Dempsey for falling for this one. They don’t make ’em like Amy Adams in live action world.
But still, I mean jesus. This is not a human being. This is a one-dimensional, one joke cartoon character. Dempsey is supposed to be an adult human being with responsibilities such as a job and a human daughter he is expected to raise. He is in a long term relationship with another adult human being. And he makes the decision to instead spend his life with a lady who doesn’t understand anything at all about the world around her or even what time period she’s in, but she does love fancy dresses and can dance around with animals and sing songs about kissing. That is not rational on this dude’s part. What are they gonna talk about once he’s tired of talking about true love? And is he gonna let all her animal friends come over for dinner or is it gonna eventually be too much for him? Sure it’s cute at first, and she’s less annoying than Snow White, but still, she’d get on anybody’s nerves after a while. You can’t have Christmas all year.
And you know what, even if you were gonna be a jackass and marry a Disney character you might be able to better than this. Because if Princess Giselle was a real Disney movie it would be one of the worst ones. It’s not even a real fairy tale, it’s just a cheap ripoff of SLEEPING BEAUTY. It’s the old movie-within-a-movie problem – if you had a good idea for a movie you would make a real movie out of it, so the fake movie is always gonna suck. And they didn’t want to waste an actual fairy tale on these bookend cartoon scenes. So instead they just have a lady and some animals and a doofus prince that rescues her from a troll (thankfully without a Scottish accent or farting) and an evil queen. They did get a couple things right to make it seem like a real Disney movie – the villain is a celebrity voice (Susan Sarandon) and plummets to her death (spoiler). But still. Who wants to see a non-specific fairy tale movie?
And by the way, if you’re feeling bad for Dempsey’s human fiancee, don’t worry about it. She gets dumped but then she falls in love with the cartoon prince and goes to live in the cartoon world. Guess she hated her job, family, friends, home, reality, even her skin which she is willing to replace with drawings.
I know how to suspend the disbelief but for me this concept was too much, I can’t accept that not one but two sane individuals would marry cartoon characters from another dimension. I don’t buy it.
But alot of people did, and the movie was very well reviewed for such a sitcom concept. There’s exactly one reason why it was considered passable at all, and her name is Amy Adams. I honestly don’t think there’s another actor in the world who could’ve played this role without looking like an idiot. Everything about Amy Adams from her perky nose to her perfect doll hair really does make her look like a VIP member of the Disney Princess Club. She doesn’t even look like a Disney princess come to life, she’s not one of those gals in the Disneyland parades. She looks like the actual living being who the character was based on. And she talks and sings like it too. And she’s great at playing these innocent, uncynical characters. If I were her I’d worry about getting typecast, but since this kind of seems like the role she was born to play I guess she might as well run with it.
I don’t keep track of the ratings but Amy Adams is so lovable I think she may be America’s Top Sweetheart, and if so I’d just like to point out that I predicted this years ago. Most people never caught on to her until her Oscar nominated performance in JUNEBUG in 2005. But guess what, early in 2001 I was onto her lead role in the straight to video CRUEL INTENTIONS 2, of which I wrote:
“The rest of the casting isn’t too bad. The Catherine is no Sarah Gellar but you could get used to her, I guess.”
You see that? “You could get used to her, I guess.” And years later the whole world would get used to her. By the way when I said she’s “no Sarah Gellar” I think I just meant she would not be in SOUTHLAND TALES. So I’m way ahead of the curve on these things. I was practically psychic on that one.
In conclusion, don’t fuck cartoons.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.