Barcode virgin: Amy Adams in Enchanted (dir. Kevin Lima, 2007).

A beautiful, animated maiden from a land where true love is forever, virtue always triumphs over evil, and small animals with the gift of human communication offer themselves up for free as domestic labor, pops through a dimensional portal to a modern-day New York City where ... well, where basically all those same things prove to be the case. The animals just aren't quite as cute.

You see the problem. We know pretty much in advance that perky young Giselle's can-do, dreams-do-too-come-true point of view will infect all the real people she comes into contact with, thus taking all the tension generated by the central premise and simply negating it instead of showing what might happen when two fundamentally incompatible worlds impose themselves on one another. What if Giselle's innocence were subjected to a real crisis of confidence? What if she faced at least the threat of actual corruption? What if she grew a brain? What if she cut her expensive shopping spree short and issued a twenty-minute Marxist-feminist critique of consumerism?

It's too bad that there's really no way the film this should have been could ever have been made--not by Disney, anyway. It's not that the filmmakers don't have the imagination or intelligence; it's a matter of market demand. You can't argue with seven-year-olds and the parents who are at the whim of their tastes. What would have happened if this movie had come out and folks had to tell their kids, "You probably wouldn't like this, dear: I know it's got a pretty cartoon princess and all, but it's really more of an existential postmodern parable for grown-ups." Nothing but tears.

So, considering, it's some consolation that Enchanted is as pleasing and colorful a wad of sticky candy as it is. Patrick Dempsey's a stick, but Amy Adams has a move or two (I'd really like to see her deliver that materialist critique). And it's funny when the chipmunk shits himself.

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