By Fred Topel | Image property of Walt Disney Pictures.
Here's the really frustrating thing about Enchanted: I am totally the audience for this movie. I love quirky fantasy movies like Ella Enchanted, Heart and Souls and Mr. Destiny. I love self-referential movie spoofs where genres get exploited. Enchanted has the perfect concept, it is just the absolutely wrong version of it.
The biggest problem is that the whole animated musical that spawns the live-action zaniness is totally mediocre. They go through every cliché with animal friends helping out during swoony love songs, but the music sucks and the characters seem outdated in a post-Belle/Jasmine/Nala/Mulan world.
The live-action antics are of the total kiddie variety. The big hoop dress provides most of the first act. It's like this film's dice roll. It's their only move.
They don't bother to establish any logic of this world. So the cartoon characters come to modern day New York, where things aren't supposed to work their way. Their animals can't talk anymore, but they still have magical powers and can call animals to help them clean the house and scrub toilets, and cause bystanders to burst into song and dance.
Look, either way is fine. If it's the comedy where magical characters have to do without magic, that's funny. If it's the comedy where magical characters bring their powers to the real world, that's funny. Hell, even Last Action Hero settled on some rules.
Then stuff comes out of nowhere. What Disney animated princes slurps up live fish? That's not part of any world! Forget about why the helpful lawyer doesn't just call some doctors to help the crazy homeless lady he found climbing a billboard. That's the one gimmee a film like this gets.
The visual effects of all of these real world magical scenes are great. It's kind of awesome to see photoreal animals do Disney stuff. Again, it's just the most mediocre cartoon they've put into live-action. The spontaneous musical numbers would be delightful if the tunes were remotely memorable.
The actors do a fine job with the material. They've got the naivety and cartoon dialogue down pat. There's a nice gender twist at the end but by that point, who cares? Enchanted is neither fantasy nor reality.