Not-so Enchanted

Posted on November 30, 2007 at 10:20 am

One of the best movie critics around is Slate’s Dana Stevens, and this week she has an excellent column about the adorable “Enchanted,” pointing out that there is one very un-enchanting element to the movie. She enjoyed the movie and was a fan of Amy Adam’s performance as Giselle.

But there was something that depressed me about “Enchanted,” a grim reality that occasionally peeped through the whimsy like New York City glimpsed from the animated fields of Andalasia. This sinking feeling had little to do with what could be seen as the movie’s retrograde affirmation of true love and happy endings—after all, if you’re going to start complaining about marriage as a plot resolution device, you have to throw out every comedy from Shakespeare on down. No, that intermittent sense of yuckiness sprang from the movie’s solemn celebration of a ritual even more sacred than holy matrimony: shopping.

I was also disappointed by the shopping montage. Couldn’t they have bonded over reading a book together? Cooking something special? Going to a museum or concert or the theater? Playing dress-up?

Of course, “shopping with your mother,” specifically for femininity-enhancing, wallet-reducing princess clothes, is precisely the activity that propels the global Disney empire forward. The scene between Morgan and Giselle in the spa isn’t played for irony; these two are truly bonding over the manicure counter, and Morgan’s mission to save the day via retail proves successful…I couldn’t suppress that yuck factor: Does these little girls’ happily-ever-after consist only in getting Mommy to buy the right dress?

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