Ten years after the events of 'Enchanted', Giselle (Amy Adams), Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchio) are getting ready to leave Manhattan to move to Monroeville, where Giselle hopes they can find the fairytale life they've always dreamed of. When she receives a visit from the King and Queen of Andalasia (James Marsden, Idina Menzel) and a gift of a wish-making wand, she is able to turn Monroeville into the fairytale she dreamed of - except it turns out she is becoming the evil stepmother to Morgan and the evil queen of Monroeville...
If all that sounds exhausting as a plot, we're not even scraping the half of it. The description didn't even get to Maya Rudolph's character, who is the existing queen bee in Monroeville who clashes with Amy Adams' well-meaning but forceful Gisele. So often is the case that sequels, even musical sequels, try and mould from the original's playbook. If it works the first time, it should at least work the second time. Yet, it's only when you go back and watch 'Enchanted' that you realise it had quite an edge to it, and how blunt and bland 'Disenchanted' feels in comparison.
It's not that Amy Adams has lost any of her comedic sensibilities, or anyone else from the original for that matter. James Marsden still looks like a Prince Charming brought to life, Idina Menzel as his queen is perfectly pitched against him. Patrick Dempsey, likewise, still has the oblivious to all look down pat, and even bringing Maya Rudolph and 'Community' alum Yvette Nicole Brown as antagonists has a flair to it. Yet, 'Disenchanted' is just far too sluggish and too leaden with endless songs and deadened nerves to make anything happen.
Adam Shankman, a veteran of musical adaptations like the remake of 'Hairspray' and (sigh) 'Rock of Ages', appears to have no natural inclination towards comedy or satire, which is what 'Enchanted' essentially was - a sly, subtle dig at the House of Mouse's role in simplifying life into happily ever afters and fairytale romances. If the point of 'Enchanted' was that these things aren't real and real life is complicated, it's repeating the same idea here. In 'Disenchanted', Amy Adams is given access - for some reason - to a wish-making wand that will allow Monroeville become an amalgamation of Andalasia, her fairytale kingdom. It works, but then her trying to force a fairytale on everyone begins to turn her wicked.
If all-singing, all-dancing musicals are your thing, 'Disenchanted' packs these sequences in at every available opportunity with little or no regard to pacing or flow in the story. The plot itself is pretty thick, but the fact that it stretches it all out for nearly two hours to fit in as many songs makes 'Disenchanted' bloated and sluggish to get through. Not only that, Enniskerry looks lovely and all, but who can honestly believe it's a suburb of New York? Moreover, trying to watch Patrick Dempsey emote on the platform of a rainy Irish Rail station is just too strange to function.
'Disenchanted' is another unnecessary sequel to an original idea, doomed to failure from the minute it was thought into life. That it took nearly a decade and a half to get this far tells you it probably shouldn't have happened in the first place.