The plot finds Donkey (Eddie Murphy) tagging along with newlyweds Shrek and Princess Fiona on a trek to Fiona's homeland, the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. Their royal return quickly becomes a royal pain for the king and queen (Julie Andrews and John Cleese), who are shocked to learn that not only is their son-in-law an ogre but so is their daughter. If that weren't enough, a power-mad fairy godmother (Jennifer Saunders of British TV's "Absolutely Fabulous") is fuming that Fiona married Shrek instead of her son, the hunky but self-consumed Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), and sets a scheme in motion to separate the outsized lovebirds. The ensuing perils test Shrek and Fiona's commitment and help them--along with everybody else--realize what's truly important. And that's excellently rendered animation (Prince Charming's hair flip, the Poison Apple pub sign and the spinning magic mirror are mesmerizing), innumerable visual gags, whimsically witty comedy and fun, likable protagonists. Voiced by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders, Rupert Everett, Julie Andrews and John Cleese. Directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon. Written by Andrew Adamson and Joe Stillman and J. David Stem & David N. Weiss. Produced by Aron Warner, David Lipman and John H. Williams. A DreamWorks release. Animated/Comedy. Rated PG for some crude humor, a brief substance reference and some suggestive content. Running time: 92 min
Television has established that beautiful women can fall for beer-drinking canines, Pepsi-guzzling space aliens, Jim Belushi, etc., setting a precedent that allows the union between a damsel and a swamp creature to go unquestioned. But a female's appearance is another matter. Can a princess trade in her porcelain complexion for a green pallor and an hourglass figure for one that rivals Big Ben in metric tonnage and still be happy? This conundrum was already addressed in the original "Shrek" but, since no one really believed it then, it gets further examination here when, thanks to a magical potion, both Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) and Shrek (Mike Myers) have the opportunity to be transformed permanently from corpulent ogres into gorgeous humans. Do they conform to the standard ideal or stay true to each other? Why the options are mutually exclusive is a mystery, as the only thing they would be giving up is a free pass to wantonly roll in the mud and suffer gastrointestinal distress. But fortunately there's a lot more to "Shrek 2" than this "I'm-okay-you're-okay" idealism, namely non-stop jokes that are clever, surreal and good-natured. No Disney cartoon ever directed a character to make a right at the shrub shaped like Shirley Bassey. And when two featured animals fall in love and the denouement reveals a litter of offspring, the usual cloying reaction is here replaced with an exclamation of, "Look at our little mutant babies! ...I need a job!"