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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Happily N’Ever After" Movie - Miami.com Review

Elizabeth Weitzman

Saturday 20 January 2007, by Webmaster

Sadly, we’ve trod this road before

More frog than prince, Paul J. Bolger’s funky fairy tale Happily N’Ever After holds plenty of promise, even if it’s likely to disappoint you in the end.

Our tour guide through Fairy Tale Land is Rick (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), a sensitive servant who toils in the castle of lunkheaded Prince Humperdink (Patrick Warburton).

As Rick tells it, every story in the Land follows the same pattern: Damsel finds herself in distress, handsome hero rescues her and they live happily ever after. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel . . . name a local lady, and she’s got the prince to match. So when Rick’s crush, Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar) — nee Cinderella — meets her fairy godmother, he assumes she’ll be the next royal bride in line.

And so she would, if the chief wizard (George Carlin) hadn’t chosen this very week to go on vacation, leaving his two dopey aides (Wallace Shawn and Andy Dick) in charge. Before you can say Shrek, every old-fashioned fairy-tale truism has been shaken up and tossed aside.

The primary troublemaker is Ella’s wicked stepmother (Sigourney Weaver), who rounds up a posse of witches, trolls and giants, and threatens to derail Ella’s familiar tale. It’s up to Rick to save her, or — in this updated edition — for Ella to save herself, and maybe even redefine the whole idea of happy endings.

While the cast members, Dick and Prinze in particular, have fun with Robert Moreland’s sassy script, the exaggerated, unappealing animation seems to belong to another movie altogether. (Just which genius envisioned the heroines of this girl-power fantasy as potential Maxim models?)

And while new times deserve new tales, this ground has already been trodden — twice — by a more memorable ogre than any you’ll find in Ella’s enchanted forest.

Voices: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sigourney Weaver.

Director: Paul J. Bolger.

Screenwriter: Robert Moreland.

Producers: Ralph Kamp, John H. Williams.

Mild cartoon violence, crude humor. Running time 87 minutes. Playing at area theaters.