[Screen It]


(2004) (Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Minor Extreme Mild Moderate
Moderate None Mild None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Mild None *Mild Mild *Moderate

Comedy: A teen tries to find her fairy godmother who cast a spell on her that makes her unable to resist or refuse anyone's command.
In a far away land of magic and mystery, an infant has been given the "gift" of obedience by her fairy godmother. The result is that she can't refuse any command, including one given to her years later by her dying mother dictating that she can't tell anyone about her condition.

Things then go from bad to worse when the now teenage Ella of Frell (ANNE HATHAWAY) learns that her father, Sir Peter (PATRICK BERGIN), is planning to marry Dame Olga (JOANNA LUMLEY). If it's not bad enough that he's doing so just for the money, her two daughters, Hattie (LUCY PUNCH) and Olive (JENNIFER HIGHAM), are mean and condescending toward Ella when not fawning over the dashing Prince Charmont (HUGH DANCY).

Ella isn't impressed by "Char" as his groupies refer to him, or the fact that he'll soon be crowned king. He'll soon be replacing his uncle, Sir Edgar (CARY ELWES), who now sits on the throne and has made many enemies among the elves, giants and ogres of the adjacent lands. Besides, she's concerned that Hattie has now discovered her weakness and is enjoying ordering her around.

Accordingly, Ella sets off to find her godmother, Lucinda Perriweather (VIVICA FOX), and convince her to remove the obedience spell. Her nursemaid Mandy (MINNIE DRIVER) decides to assist her by giving her Benny (JIMI MISTRY), her boyfriend she accidentally turned into a talking book, who will serve as her guide. As she sets off through the mysterious lands, she has encounters with the various inhabitants of the land, including Slannen of Pim (AIDAN McARDLE), an elf who wants to be a lawyer rather than entertainer as the king has dictated.

Following his rescue of Ella from a bunch of hungry ogres, Char joins them on their quest to find Lucinda. While doing so, he learns of the bad things his uncle has done, none of which sets well with Sir Edgar or his talking serpent assistant, Heston. From that point on, Ella hopes to find Lucinda and have her curse lifted, all while avoiding the various commands of others that could prove disastrous for her and her new friends.

"Tween" girls are the most likely audience, although anyone who's a fan of the original work or someone in the cast may want to see it.
For some crude humor and language.
  • ANNE HATHAWAY plays a teen who must put up with the curse of being obedient to all commands directed her way. She then sets out to find Lucinda to have that curse removed and faces various perils and adventures along the way.
  • HUGH DANCY plays the young and dashing prince who's about to be crowned king and takes a liking to Ella. As he travels with her, he learns of what his uncle has done to the inhabitants of the kingdom.
  • CARY ELWES plays his uncle the king who has nefarious plans for him and Ella.
  • AIDAN McARDLE plays an elf who wants to be a lawyer rather than an entertainer as the current law dictates. He assists Ella in her quest.
  • JOANNA LUMLEY plays Ella's new, wicked stepmother.
  • LUCY PUNCH plays Ella's mean and condescending stepsister who discovers and then exploits Ella's curse.
  • JENNIFER HIGHAM plays her somewhat dimwitted sister.
  • MINNIE DRIVER plays Ella's nursemaid who isn't skilled in making her magic work.
  • JIMI MISTRY plays her boyfriend who she accidentally turned into a talking book of knowledge. He assists Ella on her quest.
  • VIVICA FOX plays Ella's somewhat flighty godmother who refuses to remove the obedience spell she put on her.
  • PATRICK BERGIN plays Ella's single father who marries Dame Olga for her money.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this fantasy comedy that's been rated PG. Several instances of crude humor are present, as are various colorful phrases and some brief and mild sexually related comments. Some women show cleavage and part of a male ogre's butt crack is seen for comedic purposes.

    Fantasy/action style violence consists of various swordfights and other physical contact (hitting, kicking and striking others), while slapstick style material is also present. Some of those scenes might be a bit unsettling or suspenseful to much younger viewers, but older ones likely won't have much of a similar reaction.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including the king who admits to killing a family relative and plots to do the same to another. Tense family material includes talk of several deaths of parents, while some imitative behavior is present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, an indoor fire causes some of that.

  • Miscellaneous giants drink at a wedding reception. Char then says that maybe he should come back when there's been less drinking and we see a drunken young woman fall from a stool. We later hear that Lucinda was pulled over for FWI (Flying While Intoxicated) and see her trying to walk a straight line for some police (she isn't doing a good job). Ella then says that her godmother (Lucinda) is on a bender.
  • A toast is raised to a newly married couple.
  • We see baby Ella's urine stream hitting Lucinda as she holds the infant.
  • We see Dame Olga and her daughter's covered with poison ivy blisters.
  • A character states, "I think I'm gonna puke," but doesn't.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood on Char's sleeve and then a bandage around his arm following a fight with some ogres.
  • A giant's loud fart knocks Slannen from a bench.
  • Dame Olga is brought a facial compound that's said to be made from bat feces and oxen blood (that's known as "Batox" rather than Botox).
  • Ella's mother and Mandy try to hide her from Lucinda to prevent the latter, who's known for her bad gifts, from bestowing one on Ella.
  • Viewers who don't like the idea of magic, spells and such should be forewarned that such material occurs in the film.
  • A girl pushes another girl at school.
  • Dame Olga and her daughters are snobby and condescending toward Ella. Later, when Hattie discovers the spell controlling Ella, she uses it to her advantage (such as making Ella give her mother's pendent to her) and to get Ella in trouble.
  • Hattie makes Ella tell her best friend that she never wants to see her again and that she could never be friends with an "Aorthian" (or something like that).
  • Upon hearing that Slannen wants to be a lawyer, Benny jokes, "I guess that would be small claims court" (since Slannen is an elf and thus short).
  • Sir Edward and his snake assistant Heston have bad attitudes for their political policy toward the non-human creatures in their world and for wanting to kill Char so that Edward can remain king.
  • Hattie conspires with the King in hopes of being chosen as Char's queen.
  • The King commands Ella to take a dagger and stab Char to death the night before his coronation and not to tell anyone of that order.
  • Lucinda refuses to remove her obedience spell cast on Ella.
  • The King confesses that he killed his own brother to become king.
  • The King and Heston lie to Char about Ella's intentions.
  • The King prepares to kill Char by having him wear a poisoned crown.
  • After Char tells Ella to stay where she is while he retrieves something for her, she finds herself unable to move from the middle of the road and in the path of a quickly approaching wagon. As it comes right at her, Char knocks her aside at the last moment to save her.
  • As some suspenseful music plays, a rustling sound is heard and Slannen gets nervous, but it turns out to be a bunny. When it happens again, this time it's an ogre that's hungry for humans. He then pulls a knife on Ella and her small group.
  • We see that the Ogres have Ella tied above a cooking cauldron and Slannen tied to a tree. As they start to lower Ella toward the cauldron, Char shows up and saves the day.
  • Some younger viewers may worry that Ella will carry out the King's order for her to kill Char with a dagger. During this, we see them in an embrace and her lifting the dagger (but nothing, of course, happens).
  • Swords/Clubs/Knives: Carried and/or used to threaten or attack others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Little stinker," "Bite me," "He's dreamy," "You moron," "Shut up," "Cuddle buns" (what Benny calls Mandy), "Kick his butt," "This chick is nuts," "I think I'm gonna puke," "Miss I think I'm all that," "That insolent little snip," "Sorry, toots," "You're one freaky chick," "Girl, you outta your mind," "Idiot," "Numbskull" and "Lying little twit."
  • Lucinda wears a midriff-revealing top that shows some cleavage, while a female giant wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • When another girl tells Ella, "Bite me," Ella does just that (due to her spell of obedience).
  • When kids at a party are told to dig in and stuff your face, Ella does just that with a cake.
  • The King commands Ella to do various things, including the early parts from the "Hokey Pokey" song. At the end of that, he tells her to "shake your booty" and she does (in her dress).
  • A street performer blows flames from his mouth.
  • Lucinda has a small tattoo on her arm.
  • Ogres fight various knights, hitting, knocking them around and jumping down on one in something of a professional wrestling move.
  • None.
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • Lucinda wears a midriff-revealing top that shows some cleavage.
  • Mandy shows a little cleavage.
  • Ella wonders if Hattie has ever thought about Char's political views or only likes him because of "how cute she thinks his butt is."
  • Benny calls Mandy (his girlfriend), "Cuddle buns."
  • We see the top of an Ogre's butt crack as his pants ride down low (seen on several occasions).
  • Some miscellaneous women show cleavage.
  • Char and Ella briefly, but passionately kiss.
  • A tour guide tells young women to stop tonguing the floor (where Char walked) and when those fans want to see where Char showers, one excitedly states that she bets he showers naked.
  • Hattie shows a little cleavage.
  • The King commands Ella to do various things, including the early parts from the "Hokey Pokey" song. At the end of that, he tells her to "shake your booty" and she does (in her dress).
  • Lucinda tells Ella, "Go get down with the prince."
  • Ella shows a little cleavage, and she and Char do some brief, passionate kissing.
  • None.
  • While the following is present, not a great deal is made about any of it.
  • We see young Ella beside her ailing mother's bedside and it's presumed that the mother later dies (not seen, but referenced).
  • There's mention that ogres ripped Char's father, the King, to shreds sometime in the past.
  • Char states that his mother passed away when he was younger (Ella says hers did as well).
  • The King confesses that he killed his own brother to become king.
  • The comment about the perils of choices we face.
  • Viewers who don't like the idea of magic, spells and such should be forewarned that such material occurs in the film.
  • The comment that what's inside you is stronger than any outside force (or spell in this case).
  • Most of the following is presented in a fantasy action fashion, rather than as serious realism.
  • Lucinda crashes into Ella's bedroom (slapstick style).
  • A girl pushes another girl at school.
  • When another girl tells Ella, "Bite me," Ella does just that (due to her spell of obedience).
  • Hattie commands Ella to shoplift from a market. A guard then chases after her and runs into a pole. He or another then tumbles down an escalator, knocking down others. Ella then ends up swinging down toward the market via a banner and accidentally slams into a person.
  • A guy shoots something at Slannen (who's tied to a vertically spinning board) with his slingshot. Ella comes across the scene and then follows Slannen's order to "kick his butt" (which she literally does) and hit and kick him in various other ways. Slannen then falls to the ground hard from that board.
  • Olga whacks Mandy with an invitation to the ball.
  • We see that the ogres have Ella tied above a cooking cauldron and Slannen tied to a tree. As they start to lower Ella toward the cauldron, Char shows up on horseback, knocks two ogres to the ground and slices the rope, grabbing Ella before she falls in. Another ogre knocks those two and their horse to the ground. One then comes at Char with a sword and he defends himself with a pole or limb and kicks the ogre. Another ogre has its crotch smashed against something after being pulled along the ground by a horse. More such fighting continues, including Ella knocking a knife from one hand until Char holds his sword on the lead ogre.
  • A person unknowingly drops something onto Heston (the snake) who's hiding in a bag.
  • A knight whips a much large giant who's being used as slave labor.
  • A giant accidentally knocks down Slannen.
  • Heston falls to the floor where someone accidentally steps on his tail.
  • Slannen is knocked back through the air and against a wall (played for laughs).
  • Hattie whacks Olive.
  • Against her will, Ella arrives at a ball and knocks a person aside, prompting Char to drop Hattie to the floor from a mid dance dip.
  • An ogre hits a guard and then punches him in the gut several times. He then drops him to the ground when told he can't eat him.
  • Two ogres hit two guards with their clubs, knocking them out.
  • Ogres fight various knights, hitting, knocking them around and jumping down on one in something of a professional wrestling move.
  • A giant knocks a guard aside.
  • Ella and Char get into a swordfight with various guards (but it's all played lightly and for comedy as the two discuss other matters while nonchalantly fighting the villains). During this, Slannen also uses Benny's book to strike one guard.
  • When Benny is turned back into a man, he kicks and hits several guards, while Ella does a spin kick to take out more.
  • Ella stomps down on Heston and kicks him across the room where various Char fanatics attack him (impact not seen).
  • A person inadvertently puts a poisoned crown on their head and then falls to the ground, but we later see them alive.

  • Reviewed March 30, 2004 / Posted April 9, 2004

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