Amy Adams has received six Academy Award nominations, from 2005′s “Junebug” to 2018′s “Vice.” Yet she didn’t get nominated for the role that should have won her an Oscar: playing Giselle in Disney’s 2007 film “Enchanted.” It’s the performance that established her as a major star: an old-school triple threat who could sing, dance, and act. Plus, her movie made $340 million worldwide at the box office.
The Academy was not unfamiliar with “Enchanted” — it received three Oscar nominations for songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, two of which Adams sang. So there really was no excuse to deprive her of a best actress nod. If Adams does go down in history as Gen X’s answer to six-time Oscar loser Thelma Ritter, blame the lack of recognition for this movie.
Regardless, fans of Giselle can rejoice. Fifteen years after “Enchanted,” Disney+ has gifted us with “Disenchanted,” a sequel that finds the Disney princess still married to her happily-ever-after lawyer husband, Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and raising her now-teenage stepdaughter, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino). But poor Giselle has grown bored of her New York City existence and seeks change. She also wishes her toddler daughter could have a quieter upbringing.
Giselle sees a sign for Monroeville, N.Y., a suburb that reminds her of her home kingdom, Andalasia. She convinces her family to move there. Morgan isn’t happy with the change, though Robert makes the best of having to commute daily from the boondocks to Manhattan. Anyone who has taken Metro-North every day knows this alone is grounds for divorce, but this fairy tale is being brought to you by Disney, not the Brothers Grimm. So, suck it up, Robert!
In town, Giselle meets the queen bee of Monroeville, Malvina (Maya Rudolph) and her two lackeys, Rosaleen (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Ruby (Jayma Mays). Malvina sounds like an evil queen in a Disney movie, and since the “Enchanted” universe gently mocks the studio’s penchant for princess drama, she becomes one after some Andalasian magic is employed.
When King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) pay Giselle a visit, they bring her a magic wand. In an attempt to make Morgan happy with her new hometown, Giselle uses the wand to turn Monroeville into a fairytale setting. Unfortunately, she forgets she’s Morgan’s stepmother — and that relative is always the villain in these stories.
Watching Adams switch from nice Giselle to evil stepmother in the same scene is a lot of fun; she does an excellent job of maintaining comedic balance. The songs aren’t as good as they were in “Enchanted,” but the cast still does a great job singing them. The highlight of “Disenchanted” is a villainous song duet, a battle of the divas performed by Adams and Rudolph who accurately point out that two evil queens is one too many. They are clearly enjoying themselves.
How much you enjoy yourself depends on whether you’re a fan of the original, or of Amy Adams. Many of “Enchanted”’s characters return, including Giselle’s friend, Pip the chipmunk, who narrates the film and gets a nasty surprise when he suddenly morphs into a more suitable pet for an evil stepmother. Dempsey is again the straight man in all these shenanigans, but his new image as a silver fox makes him a nice bit of eye candy. Joan Bergin’s costumes are also a highlight.
Though she didn’t sing one note in “Enchanted,” the eardrum-shattering voice of “Frozen”’s Elsa, Menzel, gets a big number here. Whether that’s considered a happily ever after or a revolting development is up to you. “Disenchanted” is still an entertaining choice for a post-Thanksgiving dinner movie.
Directed by Adam Shankman. Written by Brigitte Hales, based on characters created by Bill Kelly. Starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Maya Rudolph, Gabriella Baldacchino, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, and Idina Menzel. On Disney+. 119 min. PG (mild rude humor, magical mischief, and very loud singing)
Odie Henderson is the Boston Globe's film critic.