Happily N'Ever After

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Happily N'Ever After Movie Poster Image
Shrek wannabe isn't offensive ... or fun.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Villains (especially the wicked stepmother) are predictably unpleasant (smelly, cackly, selfish), but in the end, they're defeated. Other cliched fairy tale behavior (obnoxious stepsisters, etc.) is also evident.

Violence & scariness

Cartoony hijinks include explosions with no consequences, various falls and grumblings, and a "battle scene" in which the seven dwarves haul out a windmill-cum-catapult and shoot precious jewels at dive-bombing witches on brooms (it's a decidedly un-fun bit of business).

Sexy stuff

Sexy-bodied bad stepmother: Her ballgown shows mighty cleavage and a slit up the side to reveal leg/high heels; plot focused on marriage (all the girls in the kingdom apparently want it, and the prince thinks he wants it); chaste kissing by primary couple.

Language

Namecalling ("dragon lady," "salmonella," "loser") and other mild obnoxiousness ("royal pain the butt," "a butt the size of a shopping mall").

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

During the villains' takeover of the palace, they're served food and unidentified drinks on trays.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although kids may want to see this animated fairy tale "reimagining," it's not really worth their time. The movie revises the Cinderella story in order to let the "bad guys" win ... for a minute. This results in some minor violence, much dastardly laughter, and temporary changes to familiar fairy tale plots (Rumplestiltskin steals the baby, Sleeping Beauty doesn't wake up, etc.). Many genre clichés are played out here: The wicked stepmother is mean, her daughters are obnoxious, the prince is dimwitted, and wolves, trolls, and the giant are ugly and lumbering. There's a little bit of potty humor, and a couple of none-too-menacing scenes in the dark woods. The cartoony violence primarily consists of falls and inconsequential explosions (no one dies).

User Reviews

Adult Written byteddygeiger April 9, 2008

Okay

I thought it was a cute comedy, nothing liek shrek, but it was fun for the kids, so I thought it was good.
Adult Written byTony632 March 29, 2012

What's the story?

According to the narrator, lowly dishwasher Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.), HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER is a variation on Cinderella. Wicked stepmother Frieda (Sigourney Weaver) has grown weary of always "losing" the battle between good and evil in her much-repeated story. Seeking redress, she seizes the magical staff belonging to the wizard (George Carlin) and declares herself the winner. Frieda is proactive, calling together assorted villains -- trolls, wolves, witches, and a giant -- in order to thwart Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar)'s happy ending.

Is it any good?

Oddly lackadaisical, Happily N'Ever After also has shoddy animation and an uninspired soundtrack. Everyone involved apparently worked only halftime: Weaver's evil cackle seems on a loop, a singing duet by Prinze and Gellar sounds like it was recorded on a four-track in someone's basement, and the wizard literally appears for two minutes at film's start before he smartly abandons the movie. You'll wish you had the good sense to walk out with him.

Rick's narration is colored by his own desire for Ella, but since she feels compelled to follow the plot of "the book" dutifully and repeatedly, she only has eyes for lunkheaded, big-chested Prince Humperdinck (Patrick Warburton). (He, for one, has no problem with his role, as he's able to admire himself as others do.) Only resentful Rick seems capable of imagining another option -- at least until he feels rejected by Ella, at which point the plot takes a pause while Rick sulks.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's premise -- that all fairy tales follow a basic plot and might need to be invigorated. How would you change the plots of these familiar stories? Is there another way to change the ending without focusing on "good" and "evil" characters? How does Rick's point of view affect the movie? What might happen if Ella didn't decide to like him in the end? What do you think happens to Ella's stepsisters? What other movies have covered similar territory? What makes this one better/worse than those?

Movie details

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