Clever concept undone by unfunny execution and on-a-budget animation

Happily N'Ever After

on January 05, 2007 by Tim Cogshell
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The story of Cinderella is at the center of the animated confabulation of fairytale narratives that make up Happily N'Ever After, only here Cinderella is just plain Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and her prince is an idiot. Here also, Ella's wicked stepmother, Frieda (Sigourney Weaver), gets wise to the ins and outs in Fairy Tale Land and takes things into her own hands.

The notion of one of the bad guys getting hold of the power to change the endings of all the fairytales, from Little Red Riding Hood to Rumpelstiltskin, so that they turn out badly — depending on your point of view — strikes one as a funny. When played with stale jokey-jokes and lame one-liners, as it is here, it's not funny at all. What's worse, the plastic, Shrek -like animation seems to have been done on the cheap, with very flat backgrounds that little kids might not notice, especially if they're easily distracted by all the bad voice acting provided by the likes of Freddie Prinze Jr, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin and a host of others, all doing what they do, whether it makes any sense for the role or not; adults will be distracted by the wooden characters that look far too much like the actors who are voicing them.

In one interesting story note, however, Ella dumps the prince and shacks up with Rick (Prinze) the dishwasher. Now that's a fairytale.

Distributor: Lionsgate
Voices: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sigourney Weaver, Freddie Prinze Jr., George Carlin, Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn and Patrick Warburton
Director: Paul J Bolger
Screenwriter: Rob Moreland
Producer: John H. Williams
Genre: Animation
Rating: PG for some mild action and rude humor
Running time: 87 min.
Release date: January 5, 2006

Tags: Distributor: Lionsgate Voices: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sigourney Weaver, Freddie Prinze Jr., George Carlin, Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, Paul J Bolger, Rob Moreland, John H. Williams, Animation, fairytale, stepmother, jokey-jokes, one-liners
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