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Happily N'Ever After (2 stars)

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(U) 86min

Although its makers claim they conceived Happily N’Ever After long before that big green ogre Shrek took over the box office swamp, animation filmmakers Paul J Bolger and Yvette Kaplan’s procrastinations mean that this contemporary take on olde fairy tales feels all too familiar, particularly in the light of last year’s superior Hoodwinked.

Real life husband and wife Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prince Jr provide the voices of lovesick heroine Ella and faithful servant Rick, but they get little chance to explore their chemistry because of the attentions of Rick’s master, the amusingly vain Prince Humperdink (Patrick Warburton). The scenario also involves two bumbling sorcerer’s apprentices, a pig called Munck (Wallace Shawn) and a cat called Mambo (Andy Dick), who accidentally allow evil witch Frieda (Sigourney Weaver) to alter the balance of good and evil in the magic kingdom, leaving Ella and Rick to set things right.

A few knowing gags, such as the ‘survivalist Southern dwarves’ should raise a smile from parents. Really, though, any sane adult would be better sitting their little mites down with Rob Reiner and writer William Goldman’s glorious 1987 film The Princess Bride, which made considerably more potent magic with many of the same elements.

Happily N'Ever After

  • 2 stars
  • 2007
  • US/Germany
  • 86 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Yvett Kaplan, Paul J Bolger
  • Written by: Rob Moreland, Douglas Langdale
  • Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze, Jr, Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin, Sigourney Weaver, Michael McShane

Two bumbling sorcerer's apprentices, a pig called Munck (Wallace Shawn) and a cat called Mambo (Andy Dick) accidentally allow evil witch Frieda (Sigourney Weaver) to alter the balance of good and evil in the magic kingdom. Disappointingly familiar contemporary take on olde fairy tales.

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