The hook to Paul J. Bolger’s alluring animated Neverland is its dicy deconstruction of cherished childhood fairy tales. Happy endings are no more when Cinderella’s wicked (and sinfully curvy) stepmother, Frieda (Sigourney Weaver), seizes the scales of fairy-tale fate from the kingdom’s wizard (George Carlin). Sleeping Beauty is left in a coma, a cape is all that remains of Little Red Riding Hood, and an obsequious Rumpelstiltskin (a hilarious Michael McShane) finally scores the first-born. But Frieda’s bane remains the pure-hearted Ella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), whose goodness can’t be suppressed, and her suitors include royal dishwasher Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.) as well as the square-jawed dipshit of a prince (Patrick Warburton). Like Shrek, Happily N’EverAfter plays with tradition, but it never builds any character or punch, and that along with the ill-conceived soundtrack does in this coulda-been enchantment.
On the Web
Happily N’ever After's Web site:http://www.happilyneverafterthefilm.com/