Cast: Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Anjelica Huston
Director: Andy Tennent
Previews Shown: None
Whether you realize it or not, you set certain expectations when you enter a movie theater. These could be developed from seeing a preview, hearing rumors or gossip, seeing a poster, or maybe just from hearing the name. I am quite guilty of this as well, and it sometimes unfairly influences my opinion on a movie. This usually means that a movie doesn't live up to what I thought I was going to see. But every so often, something wonderful happens. I have certain expectations set forth, and when I see the movie, I am completely and pleasantly surprised. The latter is the case with Ever After, a pleasantly fun and wonderful retelling of the tale of Cinderella (Grimm, not Disney, so no pumpkins, sorry).
The story, along with Romeo and Juliet, is probably the most well known love story of our time. Hence, there is no need for me to outline the plot, because it follows the tale pretty much to the letter. Nor will I really spend much time analyzing points and aspects of this movie, because plain and simply, the surprising charm of this movie, is that it is fun. This is the most fun I've had in a theater in quite a long time. This differed from how much I laughed at There's Something About Mary, for the simple of fact that I didn't feel bad about laughing here. This movie will make you smile, make you laugh, make you cheer, make you do everything that a fairy tale should. The story has been told, and retold, but this is the most energetic retelling yet (Disney's was more romantic, but this one has more humor and fun). The characters are real, believable. Angelica Huston makes you want to boo her every appearance on screen (then again she, like Michael Douglas, can do that in her sleep, but she does it oh so well), Drew makes you want to cheer, or sigh, as you do for a heroine. The prince (played with confident charming effectiveness by newcomer Dougray Scott) makes you cheer, and makes the women envious, and even swoon at times. All of the characters work in the context of the tale. The king and queen are powerful, yet real, and even the character who becomes the cupid of the two fate-crossed lovers (won't ruin the surprise) turns in a wonderfully watchable, comic performance.
You have noticed me mentioning comedy a lot, because therein was where the surprise lay for me. I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did. It isn't just slapstick, physical humor either (although that exists) but some rather deep, intelligent smart humor that I didn't expect. The humor came from all angles, not even in excess, but rather to keep the movie from getting to serious about itself. Most of all, this movie never forgot it was a fairy tale. Whenever the storyline seemed to be getting mushy, intense, or emotional, here came the humor, or the one-liner, to bring the smile back.
This movie will have the reverse effect of Saving Private Ryan, from this aspect. When you leave Private Ryan, you feel, as one friend of mine put it, like you're leaving a funeral. It was depressing, about a depressing and serious topic. But when Ever After is over, your face will hurt from smiling, and laughing so much. It makes you (to be cliché) "feel-good". Sure, there are flaws, Drew's accent slips, historically, they may make some mistakes, but you know what?. Who cares, it is fun, you can take kids, you can go as adults and not be ashamed, and you can leave with a smile, and energy in your heart. My recommendation, give this movie a chance, as soon as possible, you won't regret it.
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