Happily N'Ever After

Happily N'Ever After is an awful film.  It is as simple as that.  How bad?  It is just as bad as Hoodwinked!, and more or less the same film.  In other words, a moderately rendered CGI film that tries to be hip and cool, and instead appears stale and lame.  The filmmakers modeled the film after the Shrek films, with their modern take on fairy tales.  But somewhere along the way, they failed miserably.  The jokes are not funny, the story is dull, and there is no sense of charm whatsoever in the film.  By the way, the movie is bad.

In the world of Happily N'Ever After, the Wizard (voiced by George Carlin, Cars, Jersey Girl) is in charge of making sure there is balance between good and evil.  If there is, all of the classic fairy tale stories (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin, Snow White...) finish happily.  He does this with the help of a huge scale.  If the scale tilts too far in one direction, the stories end wrong.  Director Paul Bolger and writer Robert Moreland (Ground Control) never explain what happens if the scale tips towards the good side, why the Wizard doesn't just build something that holds the scale in place, or the weird existential issues around the various fairy tales doing nothing but repeating over and over.  But hey, this is a cartoon, so it doesn't matter.  And the story is so dumbed down that it never even got to this level.

The first thing people will notice is the atrocious narration by Freddie Prinze Jr. (Scooby-Doo 2, Scooby Doo) who tries to put too much emotion into every line.  He is the voice of the imaginatively named "Rick," who works as a dishwasher for the dopey Prince Humperdink (voiced by Patrick Warburton, Open Season, The Wild).  Humperdink is vain and stupid, but the lovely Ella, as in Cinderella (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Return, The Grudge 2) loves him dearly.  So much that she ignores Rick.  At the ball, the Prince falls in love with her, but her evil Stepmother Frieda (voiced by Sigourney Weaver (Infamous, The Village) discovers the Wizard's wand, tips the scales, and changes all the stories.  The Prince ignores Ella, and goes off in search of her, leaving Frieda and the other baddies free to take over the Kingdom.  Ella searches for the Prince, while Rick tries to convince her that he can save the Kingdom.

It sounds like a lot to cram into such a short amount of time, but the sad fact remains that Happily N'Ever After still drags.  None of the things that were supposed to seem clever are.  So the Seven Dwarfs are war hawks and built some automatic rock throwing thingie.  And the witches ride brooms that are like motorcycles.  Yawn.  Warburton has a great voice, but enough with the arrogant stupid roles.  Gellar seems positively bored to be there.  But she was in a sound room reading lines, and could take a break whenever she wanted.  The only respite the audience will have is walking out.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Rated PG for mild action and rude humor.

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