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‘Disenchanted’ review: This fairy-tale sequel was well worth the wait

Movie review

If you were 7 years old when the Disney fairy-tale musical “Enchanted” came out in 2007, you just might have graduated from college by now. I share this factoid not to make myself feel old (that creaky ship, alas, has already sailed), but to illustrate that the new sequel, inevitably and charmingly titled “Disenchanted,” has been a very, very long time coming. In those intervening 15 years, Amy Adams became a major star, Patrick Dempsey became a silver fox — and, for better or worse, the streaming service Disney+ was born, meaning those who want to watch “Disenchanted” with popcorn are going to have to make it themselves.

And that’s a pity, because this movie would likely look pretty great on a huge screen. It’s pretty much “Enchanted” all over again, but there’s nothing wrong with that. As the sequel begins, former fairy-tale princess Giselle (Adams) and her regular-guy husband Robert (Dempsey) are finding it challenging to live happily-ever-after in New York City; between the teenage angst of daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino, in a charming film debut) and the arrival of baby Sophia, their apartment seems magically reduced in size. So off they move to the suburbs: Monroeville, where a fixer-upper house that looks suspiciously like a small Disney castle-in-training awaits, as does the bossy town doyenne Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph). When Giselle, dismayed by life not being as easy as she’d like, accidentally turns Monroeville into a fairy tale (just go with it), Malvina’s true villainy emerges. Songs, talking animals, a random “Let It Go” reference (yes, Idina Menzel is in this) and an epic showdown ensue.

Adams, six Academy Award nominations later, still sings and dances like a Technicolor dream, and this time around she gets to have some fun as not only the ultra-sweet Giselle, whose voice sounds like butterflies and sunrises, but an evil alter ego. And director Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) fills the movie with lavish production numbers. I was especially fond of the sequence in which Giselle wakes up after accidentally casting her spell, and finds everything in her home — from the toaster to the garbage pail to the previously surly teenager — cheerily joining in song. Like “Enchanted,” “Disenchanted” plays with the idea of stepping from the world of an animated fairy tale to the real world (albeit a rather prettified version of it) and back again; it’s a journey worth taking again, even after so many years.

“Disenchanted” ★★★ (out of four)

With Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Maya Rudolph, James Marsden, Idina Menzel, Gabriella Baldacchino, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays. Directed by Adam Shankman, from a screenplay by Brigitte Hales. 118 minutes. Rated PG for mild peril and language. Streaming Nov. 18 on Disney+.


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