Published Mar 13, 2007Its come to a point where flashing celebrity names on the marquee for an animated film just isnt enough to convince moviegoers of its worth. Dreamworks has proven this point many times, but even the worst of their crop (ahem, Shark Tale) doesnt reach the creative low of Happily NEver After.
I was intrigued by the concept at first: Fairy Tale Land is taken over by an evil stepmother (a role Sigourney Weaver was thought to be born for), who puts unhappy endings on stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Rumplestiltskin. Sounds like it could take these fables back to the Grimm style of storytelling, right? But then Freddie Prinze Jr. takes over the film as the "charming but cynical narrator and triggers one of those "Oh no, its Freddie Prinze Jr. moments. And just like that, Happily shows its made of what you feared.
Its not just the dread of enduring such a thick narration that does this movie in, its, well, everything! The animation isnt up to todays standards, offering something that may have contended with Toy Story a decade ago. The story is handled with such lazy clichés that it makes Shrek gleam with originality. Sigourney Weavers evil stepmother had the potential to mess with the conventions that have been burned into our heads but the script falls into the trappings of not knowing who the audience is and her wicked ways utilise mind-numbing plots that literally put me to sleep. The romance between Prinzes Rick and Sarah Michelle Gellars Ella is even more yawn-inducing are we to believe that these two are one of Hollywoods hottest couples? Not with this script. And then there is the so-called celebrity talent voicing these characters.
Even from what weve become accustomed to that isnt from Pixar, Happily isnt up to snuff, offering a mishmash of A, B and C list names that certainly arent enough to convince anyone to give it a try. Patrick Warburton (Seinfelds Puddy, The Tick) is embarrassingly restrained as the vain Prince Charming, while Andy Dicks Mambo proves he cant be funny unless hes the butt of someones STD or druggy joke. Happily NEver After will leave you just that.