Ella Enchanted is a familiar fairytale: a young woman must overcome an extreme set of obstacles to land her prince charming. The telling of this mythical fable, based on the novel by Gail Carson Levine, is a cross between Ever After (or any other Cinderella story) and The Princess Bride. And while there are plenty of elves, ogres, giants and stepsisters to fill a forest of enchantment, the film's lack of originality cripples its attempts to be charming.

At birth, the young Ella (Anne Hathaway) is cursed with a spell that destines her to be obedient. At the drop of a command, she is forced to stop what she is doing and obey orders. Growing up, Ella's curse brings its share of problems, but when an older Ella gains a new stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and two stepsisters, they use Ella's curse to get what they want. They instruct Ella to steal from the local market, hand over her mother's precious locket, and terminate her friendship with an old friend. The stepsisters also have their sights on the soon-to-be-king Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), but he fancies Ella. Charmont's uncle, Prince Regent Edgar (Cary Elwes), secretly covets the throne so he can continue the strict governance established by Charmont's father.

Continue reading: Ella Enchanted Review