"Ella Enchanted" is a poor man's "The Princess Bride." Not only that, but it's actually a pretty sick movie if you look at its basic premise. For whatever reason, the idea is that Ella (Anne Hathaway) has been given the gift of obedience by Fairy Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox), which means that she'll do whatever anybody tells her. Given that Anne Hathaway is hot enough to make Brad Pitt soil his pants, I must admit that my first thought about this so-called "gift" had nothing to do with evil stepsisters and handsome princes. Let's see: Hot teenage girl must do whatever you tell her to. Hmmm, can anybody else see a whole bunch of balding, overweight Hollywood executives sitting around coming up with this one? The whole thing just gave me a real unpleasant picture of director Tommy O'Haver squatting in a corner somewhere giggling and fondling himself uncontrollably.
Ella never goes through high school or encounters any malicious boys during her teen years, otherwise a fairy tale this film would not be. The first real problem she encounters comes when her father, Sir Peter (Patrick Bergin), marries Dame Olga (Joanne Lumley). Dame Olga's two evil daughters follow and one of them figures out Ella's secret. Since the sister wants Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy) for herself, she tries desperately to get Ella out of the way since Ella and the Prince have run into each other and seem to be getting along despite their political differences.
It's pathetic how desperate director Tommy O'Haver is to make sure the audience knows that his film is cute like "The Princess Bride" and "Shrek," but not plagiarizing them per se. For instance, Cary Elwes plays Prince Charmont's evil uncle, Prince Regent Edgar. He's kind of obnoxious like Prince Humperdinck, but just different enough to avoid a lawsuit. Then there are the ogres, who have skull caps that are some color other than green so we're reminded that they're not Shrek, I guess.
Ultimately Ella learns that it's within her power to break the spell of obedience, which allows her to live happily ever after. Thank goodness she didn't get a job as a Hollywood intern.
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