Beware parents. Your kids--especially your little girls--will want to see Enchanted over and over whether you want to sit through all the sugary sweetness multiple times or not. The tale follows Giselle (Amy Adams) a beautiful and plucky young lass who is waiting for her Prince Charming--or in this case Prince Edward (James Marsden)--so she can live happily ever after as his princess. But Edward’s stepmother the evil sorceress Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) has no intention of giving up her throne. So before the happy couple can say “I do ” Narissa banishes Giselle from her magical musical animated land by pushing her down a well thus sending her into the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn’t operate on magical bliss Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall for Manhattanite Robert (Patrick Dempsey) a divorce lawyer who has come to her aid she wonders: Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world? By God she’s going to find out. You might not think it would be tough to play an animated fairy-tale princess come to life in the real world but try playing it with a straight face. Adams not only makes you believe Giselle is a living breathing storybook character with her delicate mannerisms and unbearably sunny disposition but she does so without giving you a toothache. Yes Adams has to break into song on more than one occasion as princesses-in-making are wont to do but it’s when Giselle starts to become more well human that the talented actress truly shines. For example Giselle has never known anger but when she loses it with Robert Adams plays it with such wonder and amazement it’s infectious. Adams’ Supporting Actress Oscar nod for her similarly cheery performance in Junebug wasn’t a fluke; she could be looking at nomination No. 2. Trust me. The rest of the cast unfortunately pales in comparison but they serve their purpose. Dempsey is adequately bewildered and enchanted by this strange girl he picks up in the middle of the street while Marsden plays the prince with the right amount of cluelessness and bravado. Only Sarandon seems out of place as the evil queen. She looks great in the makeup and costumes but the veteran actress goes just a wee bit over the top. Not since 1992’s Cool World has animated characters-turned-real people been so convincing. Of course Enchanted takes things onto a much more PG-friendly path with director Kevin Lima--having already directed Tarzan and The Goofy Movie--keying into that certain animated Disney mentality. Enchanted offers plenty of warm and fuzzy feelings--and should get your toes tapping during the original song and dance numbers. Giselle’s theme song about finding one’s true love as she dances through Central Park is one in particular you won’t be able to get out of your head. I can see the Disney theme park attractions now. Yeah so Enchanted isn’t terribly inspired or all that innovative; it's not very funny either. But after all the political violent and ultra-serious movies this holiday season its syrupy confection should provide some good old-fashioned family entertainment--and make you smile.
Well the verdict is in: Jackass: Number Two is not soft-core. In fact the stunts are more vomit inducing than ever before which in the immortal word of Steve-O is rad! All of your favorite Jackasses are back for more um fun. That’s right--Johnny Knoxville Steve-O Bam Margera Chris Pontius Preston Lacy Ryan Dunn Jason 'Wee Man' Acuna and others have returned to again defy death and sober logic as they take on more elaborate stunts. The stunts this time around involve guns rockets ramps terrorism and animals but not to be forgotten are the fail-proof anatomical gags some of which involve said animals and all of which are too vulgar to reference in any way shape or form here. In summation: more of the same tom-Jackass-ery we’ve come to expect out of these borderline-sane skate-punk dudes. A lot’s changed since Jackass’ early days as an MTV show--most of these “actors”/circus freaks have since gone on to stardom--but all the Jackasses still share an undying love for hurting themselves. Aww. With Jackass the secret weapon has always been the disparate personalities: No two of these guys react the same to their own demise and frankly it’s hilarious. Truth is the commentary’s half the fun! Knoxville brims with charisma and pulls off the rare feat of endearing himself to the Jackass faithful even after having become a movie superstar. His drunken (sounding) laugh is infectious and yes the guy with the most to lose takes the biggest beatings and risks in this movie--how can you not love that?! Then there’s Steve-O whose trademark drawl could be mistaken for a stoned Fran Drescher; he’s the resident self-mutilation whiz. And Margera renowned for terrorizing his folks actually displays a soft side in Number Two (to say more would give away the twist). Cameos from directors Spike Jonze and John Waters Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor Dukes of Hazzard director Jay Chandrasekhar and more only add to the fun. Indeed everyone wants to be a Jackass! While hard to pinpoint clearly there is talent necessary somewhere to make Number Two succeed like it does. That talent likely comes from the behind-the-scenes troublemakers like writers Sean Cliver and Preston Lacy and director Jeff Tremaine the latter two of whom appear in Number Two. Neither the reactions of the Jackasses nor their spontaneity during the stunts are choreographed but it does take a lot of advance preparation--i.e. contingency plans a portable hospital and it would seem booze by the boatload to get the mania into full swing--for a single scene to work. Furthermore to think up such absurdly elaborate ideas is either very painstaking and difficult or very easy--as in watching-episodes-of-Tom-and-Jerry-and-Roadrunner easy. Paramount though to pulling off each and every sequence is getting it all in one take for obvious reasons and Tremaine and co. manage to pull that off like they do everything else.