A short month after Time magazine named us their Person of the Year for using and creating content on the World Wide Web, here comes the dubiously titled Happily N’Ever After to reward anyone who’s delighted in the destruction the Shrek franchise has waged against our fairy-tale memories. Sans the pop-cultural clutter around which the Shrek movies have been built, Happily N’Ever After would appear to have a leg up on its predecessors, except it pushes some really obnoxious viewpoints in the absence of song-and-dance numbers and belligerent pop references. The film believes we have been subjected to way too many happily ever afters, but its idea of deliverance is dooming us to a cynical alternative in which women are worse off than they are in Disney’s Cinderella. (The film’s agenda could be summarized by a lyric from one of its songs: “If she gets what she wants will she want what she gets?”) When Cinderella’s stepmother, Frieda (Signourney Weaver), learns that her fate is actually in her hands, the power-hungry woman steals a wizard’s staff and commands the kingdom’s baddies to do her bidding, which consists entirely of stopping Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar) from taking the staff back with the help of not-so-cute critters Mambo (Andy Dick) and Munk (Wallace Shawn), stupid-as-his-name Prince Humperdink (Patrick Warburton), and his servant Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.). The film’s passionless computer animation might be acceptable only from a computer-game cut scene, but more offensive is the stupidity of a story that asks us to believe that the ostensibly smart Ella is too stupid to realize that the super-hot Rick is her real Prince Charming. But nothing beats Frieda’s unbelievable physique in terms of insult. Perpetually strutting into frame, she suggests a cross between a Pussycat Doll and a Maxim cover model, but there’s no rationale for her hyper-sexualized appearance. It’s as if she has been designed to give your toddler a boner.
- 85 min
- Paul J. Bolger
- Robert Moreland
- Sigourney Weaver, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin
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