It was 15 years ago with “Enchanted” that the part of Giselle, a fairy tale maiden from Andalasia flung into Manhattan to charm the rats, cockroaches and bachelors, launched Amy Adams into Hollywood stardom. (Her happily-ever-after includes six Oscar nominations.) Adams doesn’t gain much by returning for “Disenchanted,” a cluttered and noisy sequel directed by Adam Shankman from a screenplay by Brigitte Hales. Neither does the original film’s fan base.
This follow-up finds the heroine settled into marriage with her moderately charming lawyer husband (Patrick Dempsey), their newborn infant, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), who has sprouted from a sunny imp into a sarcastic teenager who mutters “Oh no” under her breath whenever Giselle opens her mouth to sing. Doubt has crept into Giselle’s guileless blue eyes.
Ostensibly, the script is about Giselle trying on a different storybook archetype: the wicked stepmother, which allows Adams to don peacock feathers and flare her nostrils just so. In execution, “Disenchanted” feels more like a photo hunt where you earn points for spotting the onscreen Disney references. When Giselle forces her family to move to suburbia, Shankman shoots a town-traipsing musical number staged like the opening song of “Beauty and the Beast”; later, a bullying P.T.A. mom (Maya Rudolph, quite fun) outlines her red lips like “Snow White’s” evil queen. By the time Idina Menzel, famous for the showstopping “Frozen” anthem “Let It Go,” belts a new ballad that includes the lyric, “Let it grow, let it glow,” you may find yourself craving fresh ideas. You won’t find them apples here. But at least James Marsden, here reprising his role as Andalasia’s daffy King Edward, gets a laugh every time he tosses his hair.
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 58 minutes. Watch on Disney+.