Disenchanted

Streaming on Disney + starting Nov. 18

The Plot:

A sequel to the hit hybrid fairytale musical “Enchanted” in 2007, “Disenchanted takes place ten years after banished Andalasian princess Giselle’s (Amy Adams) happily ever after in the kingdom of New York City, where she married attorney Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), her real-world Prince Charming. She has grown disillusioned with city life, so they move to the suburbs (Monroeville) with baby daughter Sophia and stepdaughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino).

The transition has Giselle questioning her happiness, but instead of a magic spell to right things, she brings on a curse instead, and inadvertently turns the lives of those in the real world and Andalasia upside down in the process.

Lynn’s Take:

Once upon a time, Disney delighted audiences with “Enchanted,” a live action and animated fantasy that was an affectionate parody of its gooey princess movies, showing they could poke fun at themselves.

That was 15 years ago, and that magic is missing from the new sequel. With advances in visual effects, omnipresent Disney royals on stage and screen, and a plethora of clever animated features these days, “Disenchanted” can’t duplicate the freshness that made the first so enjoyable.

While it has some spark, thanks to the returning original cast, it’s impossible to live up to the innovations of the first, which had seamlessly blended hand-drawn 2-D animation with a fish-out-of-water storyline and opposites-attract romance that was, well, enchanting.

The 2007 feature had been Disney’s hybrid follow-up to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” in 1988, and it was their first movie with a stepmother who wasn’t wicked. Two attempts at sequels, in 2011 and 2014, had been shelved.

The two leads were at their most charming -- Amy Adams as the endlessly cheerful and idealistic Giselle and Patrick Dempsey as her shining knight, but more cynical, divorce attorney Robert Philip.

Adams broke through with this role, after a supporting actress Oscar nomination for an indie film “Junebug” the year before, and in the years that followed, would cement her reputation as one of the best young American actresses with five more Academy Award nods – and sing again in “The Muppets” in 2011, among other roles.

Patrick Dempsey, who made a splash initially in 1980s teen comedies, now was the small-screen heartthrob du jour as “Dr. McDreamy” on “Grey’s Anatomy,” which began in 2005 and he left after season 11.

They were well-suited for the roles, now and then, and still make a merry match. Only this time, the tale is not focused on romance – but instead the realities of being married for 10 years -- bringing up a baby, having a teenager, dealing with a ‘fixer-upper’ home, and adjusting to suburban life.

This familiar-beats script is written by Brigette Hales, with story J. David Stem, David N. Weisee and Richard LaGravenese, based on Bill Kelly’s original characters.

Hales has created a stock sleepy community in Monroeville, not quite the fairytale life Giselle had hoped for with this new adventure. She tries to fit in but is rebuffed by the local queen bee, Malvina Monroe, a dastardly Maya Rudolph, who makes our sweet princess feel more out of place than ever – and reminds her of a whole new set of rules.

In her frustration, Giselle turns to the magic of her home country, and turns the entire town into a real-life fairy tale, which adds an interesting – and over-the-top -- twist. And she transforms from sweet to sour, very mean like all Disney villainesses. Adams has fun with the split personality.

By the time they figure out what’s happened, it’s a race against time to preserve goodness before midnight. The razzle-dazzle ramps up, with the expected epic battle and grandiose visual effects. There’s a lot of wand warring between Adams and Rudolph, which becomes repetitive and excessive, much like the disappointing, overstuffed fantasy “The School for Good and Evil.”

The supporting cast helps enliven the proceedings. Good sport James Marsden, exaggerated as Giselle’s former fiancé, buffoonish Prince Edward, elicits laughs, and he’s paired with Idina Menzel, as Nancy, Robert’s former girlfriend, who is there solely to sing with her unmistakable powerful pipes.

Broadway veterans Ann Harada and James Monroe Inglehart are passengers on Robert’s commuter train, and TV stars Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”) and Jayma Mays (“Glee”) are Malvina’s fellow mean moms while small-screen stalwart Kolton Stewart is Morgan’s dashing high school love interest Tyson.

In the 2007 smash hit, heralded with award nominations, including Oscar nods for three original songs by legendary composer Alan Menken (8-time winner) and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (3-time winner), the naif maiden sang to forest animals and made life jollier with upbeat melodies.

The new soundtrack features more songs, including the power ballad “Love Power,” and the end credits version by Idina Menzel will be the breakout single. The soundtrack becomes available Friday, too.

With less panache, but appealing stars, “Disenchanted” can’t help but feel same-old, same-old.