Waiting for Shrek the Third to hit theaters? Can't wait? Swing on over to Blockbuster and rent Happily N'Ever After, an extremely funny version of Shrek. On second thought, you should buy a copy, because Happily N'Ever After is an extremely unfunny version of Shrek. Actually, you should buy every copy in the store, because the movie is from the producer of Shrek and Shrek 2, as if that's supposed to mean something.
Why are studios continually allowed to market films as "from the producer" of some other hit movie. Hollywood isn't that big - someone who has loaned a few bucks to the production of a movie (a producer) is bound to invest in a good movie at some point. Studios can tack on a quality film title to any DVD cover. To put Shrek and Shrek 2 on the cover of this piece of crap is just a shame.
Happily N'Ever After is about Ella (a.ka. Cinderella), a short-haired brunette who lives under the reign of her evil stepmother. The stepmother manages to get a hold of a wizard's staff which allows her to upset the balance of good and evil. Suddenly, the whole magic kingdom is thrown into disarray as a bunch of [barely] recognizable fairy tales are turned upside down. It's up to Ella and her commoner friend, along with a bunch of dwarves, fairies and other magical creatures, to save the day. Prince Charming? He's an idiot.
The problems with Happily N'Ever After are aplenty. First and foremost, the movie tries to be like Shrek without having an ounce of comedy. I have no problem with the simpler visuals - it actually adds an element of originality to the picture - but whoever wrote, directed and animated this film apparently have never read a fairy tale before. The references to the variety of fairy tales in the movie are vague, to say the least, and when the movie does include them, it hardly takes advantage of them. Unlike Shrek, which, love or hate the pop culture references, takes jabs at dozens of fairy tales at once (and constantly), Happily N'Ever After completely fails to derive humor out of any of its references. Kids won't even understand that the main character is Cinderella.
I really don't know what attracted the cast to this picture, other than a quick paycheck. Signourey Weaver, what are you doing offering your voice to such a bad film? The rest, I don't blame you - your careers are questionable at best - but even you, Freddie Prinze Jr., can do better.
Happily N'Ever After isn't even remotely funny, and parents and children alike should not be tricked into watching this picture. Shrek the Third comes out in a few weeks, and if you can't wait that long, I'm sure you have a copy of Shrek lying around somewhere. After all, that movie does have a common producer with this one.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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