Shrek 2

2004, Movie, PG, 93 mins

Review

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Awash in pop-culture jokes that will fly over the heads of tots and delight their parents, this vividly colored romp is a worthy sequel to the 2001 Oscar winner. The spirit that made the first film such a charmer survives intact, and the sequel's deft mix of catchy tunes, E! Channel celebrity stylings and time-honored fairy-tale characters should please old fans and win some new ones. The story picks up as ogre Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and his bride, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), depart for their honeymoon; the ensuing lovey-dovey montage spoofs everything from the LORD OF THE RINGS films to FROM HERE TO ETERNITY's famous full-body kiss. The newlyweds return home to their swamp shack to find that Shrek's pal Donkey (Eddie Murphy) has moved in because things aren't working out with his fire-breathing dragon of a girlfriend. Before they can give Donkey the boot, Fiona receives an invitation from her parents, King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews) of the kingdom of Far, Far Away, asking her to visit so they can celebrate her nuptials in high style. But the royals are in for a shock: They had no idea that their lovely daughter had permanently assumed ogre form, and her new husband isn't the princely fellow they'd hoped she'd marry. For his part, Shrek is none too happy to meet the parents who locked their only child in a tower — for her own good, they insist. And Fiona's scheming Fairy Godmother (Absolutely Fabulous's Jennifer Saunders) is fuming because Fiona married some green goon instead of her dimwitted, thoroughly self-involved but undeniably handsome son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett). Pressured by Fairy Godmother, King Harold hires an assassin to eliminate Shrek and clear the way for Fiona to marry Prince Charming. Fortunately, the Zorro-inspired Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) not only fails to rip Shrek to shreds with his razor-sharp claws but he instead befriends his quarry, then joins forces with Shrek and Donkey to stop the Fairy Godmother's meddling and win back Fiona from the vapid prince. The film's distinctive CGI animation is even more detailed than the original, while the Disney needling has been minimized. But there are still plenty of one-liners and gags to go around and if Murphy's nonstop outrageousness occasionally makes Donkey seem like, well, an ass, Puss in Boots is a natural-born star and Banderas' gravelly purr is as flawlessly apt a piece of voice casting as anyone could desire. leave a comment --Angel Cohn

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