Forget the Roomba. When it comes to cleaning apartments, would-be fairy tale princess Giselle (Amy Adams) sings the Oscar nominated “Happy Working Song” and her mellifluously melodic voice attracts animal friends from all around who help her wash dishes, scrub floors and make everything zestfully clean in two minutes flat. Although I confess it’s strange, in the films from Walt Disney Studios, the presence of animals that speak, dance, sew and make up a lovely young woman’s entourage is nothing new but it’s a sight mostly found in their beloved feature-length animated works like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Little Mermaid. It’s a different proposition altogether when we see live action vermin and mosquitoes flee from New York City’s Central Park only to appear in the posh apartment of divorce attorney Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) yet that’s just one of many scenes of inventive hilarity in Disney’s best “princess” film in ages, director Kevin Lima’s Enchanted.
Beginning with a full ten minute animated sequence, the viewer is thrust into familiar territory as we meet the fair animated maiden Giselle (still voiced by Adams) who, on the day of her wedding to Prince Edward (James Marsden) is tricked by Edward’s evil mother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) into banishment as she plummets from the kingdom of Andalasia only to find herself climbing up from the sewer into modern day Time Square. Convinced that it’s only a matter of time before her prince will come, Giselle sets off looking for help and finds unlikely and mostly unwilling assistance in the form of handsome Robert Philip, who, about to venture into an unromantic engagement with the kind but bland Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel) is prodded into rescuing Giselle by his daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey).
Filled with lots of Dinsey in-jokes and references to the history of the animated division of the studio along with giving three actresses who voiced princesses in the past cameos in the film (Jodi Benson’s Ariel, Paige O’Hara’s Belle, and Judy Kuhn’s Pocahontas), the delightful and surprisingly engaging Enchanted managed to hook me soon after the live action sequence began, thanks to the creative script from Bill Kelly who wrote the similarly themed Blast from the Past. However, most of the film's charm comes from the unceasingly talented Adams who, with her variety of excellent performances in the past two years, has the makings of becoming one of our top leading ladies. The film’s soundtrack featuring lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and music by Alan Menken received two additional nominations for original song for the tracks “So Close” and “That’s How You Know” and Enchanted also earned recognition by the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards as the Best Live Action Family Film of last year.