Barry Wetcher/Disney Enterprises

Review in a Hurry:  Amy Adams shines in this fabulous fable about what happens when the fairy tale world takes a bite out of the Big Apple.

The Bigger Picture:  The doe-eyed, singsong denizens of the animated fantasy world crash-land into New York City! It's a high concept we'd naturally expect a mainstream media machine like Disney to ruin, as its Lion King days seem long past and they haven't offered a truly engaging and, er, enchanting family fantasy film in a long time.

But with Enchanted, it looks like Disney got its groove back.

The movie begins in gorgeous, classic animation, following Giselle (Adams), a princessy naïf on the hunt for true love. It only takes minutes for her to literally fall into the lap of Prince Edward (James Marsden), but his evil stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), has more nefarious plans for the couple. She launches Giselle into a land where no one lives happily ever after: New York City.

Never fear: Giselle falls into the lap of another handsome man, the pragmatic, melancholy divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey). As the fantasy faction follows Giselle to Manhattan, chaos ensues, musical numbers blossom and romantic entanglements, well, entangle. The culture clash is fully exploited: A poison apple flavors a chic martini and a TV set is a "magic mirror" with remote control. And somewhere in there, valuable lessons about life and love are doled out in easy-to-swallow doses.

Ultimately, Enchanted works so well because the Disney powers-that-be let writer Bill Kelly completely mock the animated standard it single-handedly created, from the chiseled but brainless Prince Charming to the burst-into-song silliness. Still, Giselle's incessant sweetness is truly endearing, thanks to Adams. Her complete ownership of a potentially grating character is totally winning, and her comic timing is spot-on. She shines, and everyone around her—Marsden, Dempsey, et al.—basks in the glow.

The 180—a Second Opinion:  Everyone, that is, but Susan Sarandon. Narissa, being the most evil character of all, had the most potential for culture-shock comedy, but she never gets to interact with the city folk. No Narissa trying to hail a cab? Being mistaken for a drag queen? Ah, missed opportunities. Even the mean stepmother deserves a funny, if not happy, ending.

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