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Does ‘Disenchanted’ find the fairy tale magic?

The movie “Disenchanted” brings back Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey in the continuing story of a cartoon princess making a life in the real world. A follow-up to 2007’s “Enchanted,” it has more songs, more gags and more of the conflicts between fairy tale life and reality that animated, so to speak, the original. I’m Linda Holmes. And today we’re talking about “Disenchanted” on POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR.

HOLMES: “Enchanted,” which came out in 2007, was the story of Giselle, who lived in a cartoon world as a cartoon princess. But owing to some various shenanigans, she found herself abruptly in the very real New York City. Played by Amy Adams, she sang and danced with her animal friends just like any Disney princess. And she even found a prince. His name was Robert. He was played by Patrick Dempsey. And he was a regular New Yorker and single dad, who took a while to get used to this very unusual woman but could ultimately not help falling in love with her, obviously.

Now we find Giselle and Robert moving to the suburbs – gasp – with their daughter, Morgan, played by Gabriella Baldacchino, who’s now a moody teenager. Giselle encounters a new kind of evil queen, Malvina, the neighborhood mom played by Maya Rudolph, who looks down on this newcomer and her, shall we say, strange ways. There are more songs once again by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. And James Marsden and Idina Menzel return as Prince Edward and his now beloved Nancy, who still live in the fairy tale land of Andalasia. “Disenchanted” is streaming now on Disney+. TOUROS: I mean, I come to you, Linda, as I often do on this show, with a great capacity for love, but with a sacred duty as a hater. My first reaction when seeing this trailer come out, having been a big fan of the original movie – I went and saw it in theaters when I was a kid, I think, for my birthday, actually. Loved that film, but I kind of was like, I don’t know that we need a sequel…

TOUROS: …Which is often my gut instinct to what Disney does these days. We don’t need a sequel. We don’t need a remake. But I was willing to give it a chance because it seemed like maybe they were going to take it in this kind of adult, midlife crisis direction of, they got their happily ever after in New York. And it turns out that it’s not so ever after. TOUROS: Precisely. But I wonder if they wanted this movie to be very camp and very silly and very fun. It’s certainly very colorful. But what they kind of missed the mark on, I think, were the emotional beats. I feel like if you go super camp, you really don’t have to pay attention to what the plot is doing.

TOUROS: As long as the characters are having fun and you’re getting silly lines. But I feel like they really were trying to give it an emotional core. And I just don’t think the stakes were set up in a way in which I really was invested, I cared, I understood what was happening. I mean, I think Amy Adams here is great. Like, to think about her doing this role, this very, like, wide-eyed, innocent person, in contrast to something like “Sharp Objects,” which is one of the best things I’ve ever seen her do. TOUROS: Like, she definitely has a lot of range. And she’s having fun with this, I think. But it just doesn’t feel like she was in the same movie as a lot of the other characters. I think the only person meeting her where she was at was James Marsden.

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