Culture > Movies
Jan Thijs/Relativity Media

Mirror Mirror

Movies | Stellar performances help mitigate the film's shortcomings

Issue: "Who will vote?," April 21, 2012

Infusing fairy tales with copious amounts of comedy can enliven, as well as enrich, a story, as The Princess Bride demonstrated. Then again, comedy employed for cheap, quick laughs can be tedious, if not torturous, as in the disastrous Ella Enchanted. Sadly, Mirror Mirror falls closer to the latter end of the comedic fairy tale spectrum, despite some game and delightful performances.

Offering up a fresh take on the Snow White story, Mirror Mirror (rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor) stars Julia Roberts as a vain and impulsive queen determined to keep her sweet and lovely stepdaughter Snow White (Lily Collins, pictured), the heir to the kingdom, virtually locked away from her people. Into the mix comes a group of seven outcast dwarfs, who have resorted to thievery, and a young prince (Armie Hammer) looking for adventure.

A light-hearted, slapstick conception of the classic tale could be promising, but the approach taken by the writers and director values fleeting, clichéd humor that largely neglects any connection to the story while attempting to serve the moment and generally failing at that as well.

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Several standout performers may leave the viewer wishing upon these stars that they had a better script to work with. Julia Roberts does a masterful job, expertly twisting her trademark smile to fit the fiendish and cartoonish queen. Standing beside her is veteran comic actor Nathan Lane, who deftly generates some laughs through his deadpan approach to the silliness surrounding him.

Truly wasted by the poor script is an enchanting, somewhat modern yet classic take on Snow White by relative newcomer Lily Collins, whom audiences might remember as the Tuohy daughter in The Blind Side. In an exclusive interview with WORLD, Collins says she studied performances by Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor to help her achieve an elegant performance, and their influence clearly shows.

Though anyone over the age of 12 may find Mirror Mirror to be wearisome, the stellar performances by a couple of veterans and a promising up-and-comer help mitigate the film's shortcomings.

Michael Leaser
Michael Leaser

Michael is editor of FilmGrace and an associate of The Clapham Group.


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