HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER
Rick (voice of Freddie Prinze Jr.) works as the dishwasher for Prince Humperdink (voice of Patrick Warburton), but pines for his secret love, the lovely [Cinder] Ella (voice of Sarah Michelle Gellar). When Ella's Wicked Stepmother Frieda (voice of Sigourney Weaver) finds her way to the cottage of the Wizard (voice of George Carlin), she decides to change the balance on the scales of Good And Evil, so she can to take control and change the endings of all fairy tales. The Wizard is on a golfing vacation, and his two assistants Munk (Wallace Shawn) and Mambo (Andy Dick) are easy to dispose of. Rick comes to the rescue, saves the day - and Ella - before living happily ever after.
Review by Louise Keller:
Unlike Shrek, which delighted us with its originality and super smart, subversively witty script, this animated reworking of fairy tales is tired, clunky and forced. It is hard to understand how the largest animation production to come out of Europe could so badly misfire, yet the film lacks freshness or a light touch, and the script reeks of a knowing arrogance that is decidedly unfunny. Shifting the elements of fairy tales around should be a whimsical and joyous affair, but Happily N'Ever After is fatally serious about itself, which is off-putting at every turn.
The notion of subverting the 'happily ever after' theme might have worked as a short film in which Rumpelstiltskin snatches the baby, Rapunzel loses her balance when her hair is tugged, the Prince who kisses Sleeping Beauty also goes to sleep, the Giant steps on Jack after he climbs up the beanstalk and so on. But here, the concept is stretched to tedium and focuses on a central storyline featuring (Cinder) Ella and her Wicked Stepmother Frieda, whose greed and jealousy drives her to tip the scales of Good and Evil. There are a few funny lines ('Rapunzel and her long tresses single-handedly keeps the shampoo industry in the black'), and the notion of shifting the perspective to that of the Prince's dishwasher (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.) who loves Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar) from afar, is not a bad one. But the two numbskull assistants to the Wizard, who tees off for a golfing holiday, are nothing short of irritating, as they play the fool and become an easy target for Frieda.
The voice cast is as good as the script permits, and predictably, Jack becomes the hero, rids us of the Wicked Stepmother, impresses Ella and saves the day. Even the nerdy, arrogant Prince with the big chin and wussy blond hair turns (incredibly) into a good guy, and there is no prize for guessing that there is a 'happily ever after' ending, after all. Sadly the line that Freddie Prince Jnr delivers about 15 minutes into the movie, 'I hate to tell you, but it gets worse,' is too true.
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HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER (G)
VOICES: Sigourney Weaver, George Carlin, John Di Maggio, Andy Dick, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lisa Kaplan, Jill Talley, Freddie Prince Jr.
PRODUCER: John H. Williams
DIRECTOR: Paul J. Bolger
SCRIPT: Robert Moreland, John H. Williams
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Dulac
EDITOR: Ringo Waldenburger
MUSIC: Paul Buckley
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 29, 2007 - Victoria; April 5 - NSW/QLD/WA/SA