A princess from a cliched fairytale story is being banished to the real world on her wedding day. This unexpected change of events starts her on a journey to find her true love in a world where happily ever after is unrealistic.
The movie starts with a corny love-at-first-sight between an animated Giselle and prince Edward as they complete each other’s duet, much like that of mating birds. The two decide to marry the next day but before the marriage takes place, Giselle is being pushed deep into a well by Edward’s stepmother Queen Narissa who fears losing her throne to Giselle. Very plausible reason to get rid of someone you’ve never met. But then again, since when do the villains in a fairytale need any reason for their wrong doings?
Giselle leaves the animation world of happily ever after and enters the foreign Time Square. After fumbling on the street aimlessly with her bulky, puffy wedding dress, and being robbed by an old, creepy guy of her tiara, she falls into the hands of a cynical divorce lawyer Robert and his daughter Morgan. Robert only intend to let Giselle stay long enough to dry herself from being in the rain for so long, but at seeing her sleeping soundly on the sofa, he softens down and leaves her to stay for the night.
Morning arrives, Giselle wakes up early to get a better look of Robert’s apartment and decides to tidy up the room. She opens the window, sings to summon the animals for help. A sea of pigeons, rats (from sewers), and roaches roam into the tiny apartment and neatly situate themselves comfortably around the room. Once all the animals are present, the cleaning takes place. I have to say as disgusting as it is to watch roaches and mice running around the rooms, it does seem less repugnant animated. It’s pretty interesting to see roaches getting rid of the stains in the bathtub while the mice washing the toilet. When Giselle isn’t paying attention, a pigeon quickly eats a nearly roach then resumes its original composure to avoid being seen. Morgan wakes up to the sound and runs back to wake her dad up for the scene. He flips out, chases all the pests and birds away before he finds Giselle in the shower.
Nancy (played by India Menzel), Robert’s fiancée, who comes to take Morgan to school, happens to see Giselle dressed in a towel, just fallen on top of Robert. Uh oh! Nancy gets mad and rushes out. Little does Robert know, this is just the start. Robert then finds out that Giselle made a dress out of Robert’s curtain, leaving the the outline of the parts of the dress embossed on the still hanging curtain.
On the other hand, prince Edward and the chimp jump into the well to look for Giselle. Different from Giselle’s rather disastrous experience on the street, Edward’s is a heroic-filled comedy. He jumps on a bus and stabs his sword through the top of the bus and slit open a bag of rice on an old woman’s lap.
Once the queen knows of Edward’s departure, she sends Nathaniel down to NY to prevent Edward from bringing Giselle back. She gives Nathaniel three poisonous apples to allow him three chances to get rid of Giselle. The catch is, she can only be rescued by her true love’s kiss before midnight. The chimp overhears the evil plan and tries to tell the prince. Unfortunately the prince cannot understand him anymore. So the chimp resolves to act out everything Charlie Chaplin style. Unfortunately, the prince turns out to be a total narcissist who knows no other way to interpret the impersonation other than a praise of his handsome looks.
Robert tries to send his trouble – Giselle – away, but ends up walking with her in central park. They encounter Nathanial disguised as a salesman who “kindly” gave Giselle a free caramel apple. Wonder why he has no trouble familiarizing himself to the strange surrounding. Robert and Giselle enter a heated conversation where Robert suggests that love at first sight and marrying after knowing each other for one day is problematic. People should date, where they go to places and get to know each other. Frustrated by Robert’s novel suggestion, Giselle throws away the apple by accident. The apple falls on one of the bikers and burns a hole through the helmet and ends up forming a bald path on the poor man’s head. The walk turns to be a big musical parade and ends with Giselle sending a pair of cooing birds with a heart-shaped flower ring and a ticket to the Kings and Queens ball to Nancy for forgiveness.
The second apple shows up one night when Robert is having dinner with Giselle. The disguised Nathaniel, now as a Hispanic waiter sends Giselle an apple martini. Right before Giselle takes a sip, the chimp shows up and disrupts the plan. The chimp only has enough time to tell Giselle that Edward is coming for her before he’s being spotted and targeted against. The scene ends with Nathaniel sends a plate of pizza flying straight to the fireplace and the force spits the chimp out and drop into a bottle while the flying pizza explodes into a rather gorgeous flame.
Furious with Nathaniel’s repeated failure, Queen decides to come down herself to take care of the snow white, oops, Giselle. Edward eventually finds Giselle and happily sings to her. Giselle is happy to see him but no longer responds to his (bird)song. She instead, asks for a date. On the date, she suggests they go to the King and Queen Ball. He agrees. Giselle returns to Robert’s apartment and seeks make-over advice from the little Morgan who took out her father’s credit and go on a shopping spree with Giselle.
Robert and Nancy meet up with Edward and Giselle at the dance. Giselle is for the first time dressed in modern cloth. The first dance is a switch partner dance, so Robert dances with Giselle while Edward with Nancy. When the dance ends, Giselle unwillingly leaves Robert’s side to lament this retarded true love in a corner. She is approached by a scary looking old woman – a disguise of the queen – who hoaxes her into bitting the poison apple. She bites it and faints. Right when the queen plans to remove Giselle forever, Nathaniel who comes to his moment of truth not too long ago, interrupts and reveals the evil queen’s plan. However Giselle has already bitten into the apple. Now the only way to rescue her is her true love’s kiss before midnight. Edward kisses her once, nothing happened. Twice, nothing happened either. Could it be…? Robert takes his sweet time and kisses her right before the second hand reaches 12. Giselle wakes up, everybody is happy except for the queen.
So the queen turns herself into a dragon. This queen really enjoys making herself look less appealing. The dragon grabs Robert, breaks the window and leaves the ballroom. The old couples at the ball ironically think this is an excellent show put on by the sponsor. Giselle bravely runs and grabs a sword from the center of the room while leaving a shoe behind to fight the dragon. The dragon climbs up the roof to the top of the towel. Giselle chases after, cutting the dragon with the sword. Let’s just call up some national security and nuke that dragon on the top King-Kong style. After some struggle and fight and slipping and slide, the dragon falls and dies, the pair of love birds survives.
Edward who has just lost his love finds immediate replacement – Nancy – by slipping on the shoe Giselle left in the center of the room, Cinderella style. He takes her back to the fairy tale world and hold a grade wedding with her. Giselle stays with Robert and takes over Nancy’s fashion factory. She employs birds and mice with her song. “And they all have their happily ever after”.
Ironies in the movie: first of all, it’s ironic that Robert condemns Edward and Giselle’s rash decision to marry after meeting only one day. Yet he and Giselle fall in love and swap places with Edward in the mere span of 3 days. Secondly, Robert isn’t a romantic person. He doesn’t believe in fairy tales and the happily ever after, yet the Nancy he claims he knows well is in fact a hopeless romantic.
It’s an enjoyable movie, minus the little disconnection in the plot and lack of character development, and add a pinch of the chimp cuteness and an ounce of the happy go around Disney songs. What I don’t understand is that the crew casted India Menzel as Nancy but they don’t have her sing a song?! That, has to be the biggest let down in the movie for me. At any rate, here is a clip from the movie.