Ella Enchanted

dir. O'Haver
Opens Fri April 9
Various Theaters

Some college student once described a particular hallucinogen as "like being kicked in the head by a psychedelic horse." This is also an apt description of Ella Enchanted, a colorful retch of a film based on a novel by Gail Carson Levine. It retells and modernizes the Cinderella story, mostly through a complete reconfiguring of the plot and a sprinkling of dry, "modern" humor, all of which falls flat.

In this version, Ella is the Cinderella character, a girl who has been cursed (by a drunken, party girl, fuck-up fairy played by Vivica Fox) to constantly--and literally--obey. So if someone tells her "bite me," she grabs their arm and takes a chomp. There is of course a prince, and he is immediately ass over tin cups for Ella, much to the chagrin of her evil stepsisters. (Ab Fab fans will die when they see "Patsy" in her lamest role to date, as the evil stepmother.)

The traditional fairy tale formulas are carried through-- good struggling against evil, ad infinitum. But make no mistake: this is a very odd movie. In fact, it seems like occasionally the movie makers were working themselves into such fits of panicky giggles over how bad their movie was turning out, they just ran with it for their own amusement, as evidenced by the intensely trippy song-and-dance numbers thrown in periodically. Forgive me if you can't predict that this movie has a happy ending, but during the final wedding scene, for instance, Ella rips off the bottom of her wedding gown to reveal a tulle miniskirt. Then the entire cast breaks into an ensemble dance number that's enough to make you pull your ears off.

Actually, Ella is so ridiculous and evokes such violent reactions from its audience, that it might end up having a lasting future as a cult classic like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Otherwise, it'll at least make for a crowd favorite on movie night in the psych ward.