[box cover]

Ever After

The Queen of France summons 19th century storytellers the Brothers Grimm to her palace, commending their work but finding fault with one piece — "Cinderella" — which she claims they got all wrong. She then proceeds to tell the "real" story of "The Cinder Girl," a yarn with a decidedly contemporary bent. Drew Barrymore stars as Danielle De Barbarac, the hapless stepdaughter in the Queen's tale, but rather than being a heroine-as-victim, she is a young woman with an agenda — namely, getting her wicked stepmother (Angelica Huston) and her two stepsisters to move to the city and away from their rural estate so that she and the servants may live in peace. It is only because of two chance encounters with the Prince of France (Dougray Scott) that Danielle finds herself drawn up in an illicit romance with the heir to throne, never able to reveal her true identity and trying to fend off her stepmother, who has every intention of seeing her eldest daughter wed to the prince. You may be wary of sitting through a "chick flick," and Ever After has all the warning signs, but the film actually succeeds by taking broad liberties with the source material, which keeps it fresh and consistently entertaining. Barrymore is very fetching, although her English accent is a bit strained. Huston is remarkably nasty and great fun. And the ladies are bound to swoon over Scott, whose good looks and mellifluous voice are as prominent as his codpiece. The added touch of using Leonardo Da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) as an earth-bound fairy godmother is especially witty. Directed by Andy Tennant, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The excellent transfer highlights the gorgeous French locales used for the film. Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby 2.0, trailer.

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