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Charming  (DVD)


Stars: Voices: Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Nia Vardalos, Jim Cummings, Ashley Tisdale, Avril Lavigne, Sia, G.E.M., John Cleese, Tara Strong, Chris Harrison, Moosie Drier

Director: Ross Venokur

Yet another in an overcrowded cartoon ensemble for the kids' DVD market just now. Prince Felipe Charming (Valderrama) has been cursed with good looks that make all women faint at his feet. Currently he is engaged to three fairytale princesses, Cinderella (Tisdale), Snow White (Lavigne) and Sleeping Beauty (Chinese actress G.E.M.). But he will die on his 21st birthday unless the curse - put on him by the vengeful Nemeny Neverwish (Vardalos) - is lifted by true love's kiss.

On the other side of the tracks, street thief-cum-highwayman Lenore (Lovato) is busy filling her coffers with jewels, with the help of her redbird helper. Captured and clapped in irons, she is offered a lifeline - guide the prince through a series of trials on which he is about to embark and her life will be spared.

Immune to the prince's charms, Lenore nonetheless dons a moustache and becomes Lenny - the character as drawn is so shapely that the prince must be blind as well as cursed not to see she's a girl.

Together they share the three trials - a forest of lethal trees, a tribe of giant Amazon women and a stone monster - and inevitably fall in love, while Nemeny rages in the background. .

This is largely familiar animation stuff which lacks fluency and forward drive, and the Lenny character needs to be stronger in the mid-section. There are too many songs while too little is happening on screen, and the music is an adjunct to the film rather than part of it.

Nevertheless, there are some amusing moments. A poster advertises 'Henchman for hire (axe included)', while Cleese is priceless as the hangman at the climax, telling Charming to get on with his farewell speech as 'we've got a football match in the courtyard in half an hour'.

David Quinlan

Canada/USA/Spain/Cayman Islands 2020. UK Distributor: Blue Finch Film Releasing. Technicolor.
82 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 24 Mar 2020