Ella Enchanted is 100 minutes straight of trope after endless overdone trope, CGI enhanced castles, juvenile slapstick, vaudeville/caricature that is ignorant of its own campiness, a terribly written screenplay with grating pacing, indecisiveness of which theme and genre mash-ups they're going for, but worst of all - weirdly uncomfortable sexual innuendo.
Don't believe me? Here's a list:
- Ella references how cute Char's butt is in her debate class. What?
- Gratuitous ogre butts
- I've only known you for a day but suddenly I'm going to make out with you
- This line: "I bet he showers naked!"
- The giantess had an extremely low cut skirt showing her hip bone and a good four inches below her belly button. I'm a prude, so I tend to overcompensate the other way when trying to judge these things - but anybody with eyes would scratch their heads to wonder why that was in a kid's movie.
- The ball-gown-to-mini-skirt-or-underwear trope (see also the live action Beauty and the Beast for this one). Huh? Why is this a thing?
If I were to take the genre of Czech Fairy Tales and find one single movie to express the exact polar opposite, it would be Ella Enchanted. It surprised me to see that this film is a UK production, filmed in Ireland. So why was it completely dripping in CGI? Totally unnecessary.
Note that it is radically different from the book, which is a fun YA fairy tale reimagining of Cinderella which I would certainly recommend (and the sequels, if you're eight or nine).
There are two fantastic parts of this film:
The spot on, hilarious performances of Lucy Punch (Hattie) and Cary Elwes (Uncle Edgar) - or should I say Wesley. You can't help but chuckle just seeing him in a caricature-y medieval role - and his deadpan and Hattie's obnoxious snorting are pretty much the only thing that are worth seeing. Once.
Unless your sweet child begs you to watch it, and then, of course you'll oblige, though hopefully not from being under the influence of any enchanted curse - which was a theme I think they downplayed in favor of a half-hearted attempt at our ultra-PC culture rallying cry of "you can be who you want to be" mixed with some pitiful peddling of democratic ideals.