Boston's Alternative Source! image!

R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 07/30/1998,

Ever After: A Cinderella Story

This revisionist Cinderella tale not only ditches the pumpkin and the mice but swaps the fairy godmother for . . . Leonardo da Vinci? Yes, co-writer/director Andy Tennant (Fools Rush In) makes some curious choices in this radical adaptation, the least of which is his decision to favor chutzpah over hocus-pocus.

Drew Barrymore's hearth maiden is clearly not as fragile as her footwear. She quotes Thomas More, parries like a pirate, and tells her wicked step-relatives (Anjelica Huston, Megan Dodds, and Melanie Lynskey) to screw thee. Alas, the love of a good prince (an unmemorable Dougray Scott) still doesn't come easily for this plucky child of the soot. Barrymore aces her 16th-century elocution, but her vampy magnetism -- always her dominant charm -- is snuffed in this goody-goody role. Likewise, tedious derring-do and the flat slapstick of the misplaced Signor da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) make the stretch between "once upon a time" and "happily ever after" drag like Rapunzel's hair. Despite the feminist twist, this Cinderella story is still Grimm.

-- Alicia Potter