Despite five songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, Enchanted isn’t really a musical. Three songs are performed in the traditional musical storytelling manner—one with Giselle and Edward in the animated world, two by Giselle in New York City—with two of the songs being performed by contemporary music performers over the events—one song as a pop “Beauty and the Beast” (Jon McLaughlin in place of Angela Lansbury) and the other with Carrie Underwood performing one song over the final events of the movie.
As expected, the three performed by Giselle and/or James Marsden are great songs. They are attempts to pastiche a musical style Menken has helped redefine, done with great humor (and coupled with some very funny visuals). It’d be nice if the final two songs weren’t performed so pop. In comparison with the three earlier songs, they don’t make quite the impact upon first hearing. They almost seem like throwaway pop songs like those heard in most contemporary movies instead of something exciting and new by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.
The biggest appeal for Broadway fans, though, may be Idina Menzel as Patrick Dempsey’s girlfriend Nancy. It’s not exactly a revelatory part, but it’s great to see Menzel in another movie, and she looks great, particularly when dressed for a ball scene. I loved seeing her in her very final scene, and if anyone knows of anyplace online to find that image, I’d love to know.
Also look for Tonya Pinkins in several scenes as a client of Patrick Dempsey’s, plus very brief appearances by Judy Kuhn and Paige O’Hara. Crazy for You and Smile star Jodi Benson also appears in several scenes as Patrick Dempsey’s assistant.
While it’s not a great movie(in comparison to, say, Hairspray), Enchanted is much fun (and sure was an audience pleaser the night I saw it), and the first three songs—including a big choreographed number in Central Park—make it a must-see for every musical theatre fan.
With great success, maybe Disney will venture in the live movie musical once again. We can hope!
the Broadway Mouth
November 23, 2007