is a 2004 film loosely based on the novel of the same name by Gail Carson Levine
The basic premise is the same as in the novel: At birth, Ella, the protagonist, is given the "gift" of obedience by Lucinda, a fairy. Thus is Ella Blessed with Suck
. She is forced to obey every direct order given to her, no matter what.
Where the film goes from there differs significantly. The approach is more broadly comedic than the novel, with a Purely Aesthetic Era
setting and the addition that Ella even obeys commands that are physically impossible: for instance, if she is ordered to "Stop right there" in mid-leap, she will hang frozen in mid-air until the order is countermanded.
The film contains examples of:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Hilariously subverted — Char's coronation was a setup by Sir Edgar, who then, once exposed, crowned himself... forgetting that he had poisoned the crown with intent to kill Char at the moment of crowning.
- Black Belt In Origami: Ella encounters Mooks bullying the elf Slannen. After he (semi-unintentionally) orders her to help him, she threatens the Mooks with origami. Unfortunately for her, one of the guards knows what origami actually is.
Guard: Paper folding?
Ella: I was hoping you wouldn't know what that was.
- Black Best Friend: Areida
- Boogie Knights: The armored castle guards join in with the Dance Party Ending.
- Dance Party Ending: To the tune of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart".
- Deadly Hug: Ella almost gives one to Char after Sir Edgar learns about her curse and starts manipulating her.
- Dramatic Curtain Toss: The unveiling of a statue of Prince Charmant at a medieval mall.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: Ella takes her mother's necklace back from her stepsister this way.
- Evil Is Hammy: Cary Elwes was clearly enjoying himself a bit too much.
- Evil Uncle: Sir Edgar, to Prince Char.
- The Film of the Book
- Getting Smilies Painted On Your Soul: Ella is ordered to be happy about her curse and goes around being terrifyingly cheerful until someone gives her another order to snap her out of it.
- Giant Food: Ella encounters this when she travels to the land of giants.
- Groupie Brigade: Prince Char
- Horseback Heroism: One of the many times Prince Charmont saves Ella's life is from an ogre's boiling pot when he comes up on his horse.
- Illegal Guardian: Sir Edgar
- Improbable Food Budget: How a door-to-door watch salesman (and a lousy one, at that) manages to feed and clothe his entire household is not explained well. However, the cook is a fairy, which might explain why there's enough food to go around, at least.
- Instant Awesome Just Add Ninjas: The Crimson Guard is basically a group of medieval ninjas. In a European fantasy kingdom. Given the other anachronisms already shown, it's not that farfetched. The fact that they are summoned by breaking the glass on a button box just makes it better.
- Involuntary Dance: Ella is compelled to sing and dance for the entertainment of some giants after some of them yell out for her to do so.
- Jerkass: Lucinda not only Blesses Ella With Suck, when Ella pleads and begs for her to remove the "gift", Lucinda is offended and refuses, declaring arrogantly "everybody loves my gifts". She not only shows no interest in why Ella would want it removed, but while Ella chained herself to a tree to try and avoid obeying Edgar's order to kill Char, Lucinda frees her and orders her to go to the ball. She's practically a villain in her own right.
- Kick the Dog: Hattie and Olive forcing Ella to steal a number of expensive items from a market stall, get her arrested, have her blame Areida for it, then have her go to the door when she comes to visit, tell her that she never wants to see her again and tell her that she could never be friends with an Ayorthian. Fortunately, Areida forgives Ella by the end.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Prince Charmont, who gallantly saves Ella's life exactly three times.
- Large Ham: If there is one reason to watch this movie, it is for Cary Elwes in his most hammy splendor.
- Loophole Abuse: Ella has to obey any command given to her, even if she is the one giving it. She escapes the curse this way at the end by commanding herself to stop being obedient. Apparently, it had never occured to her to try this before; possibly it wasn't an option before Lucinda, after Ella begged her to remove the curse, told her, "Get out of it yourself."
- Missing Mom: Ella's mother dies when she's young.
- Mistaken for Junkie: Jokingly. After rescuing Ella from ogres that want to eat her, Char asks Ella if she gets a kick out of near-death experiences. At that point in the movie, these included nearly getting run down by a carriage (Char inadvertently put her in that situation by telling her to stay put while he goes and gets her bag, leaving her stuck in the middle of the road with a carriage bearing down on her).
- Mr. Fanservice: Prince Char. In one scene he's removed his shirt and vest to allow Ella to put a bandage on his arm, leaving him in nothing but leather pants.
- Not Like Other Girls:
Prince Charmont: Ella of Frell, you're not like other girls.
Ella: You have no idea.
- Obviously Evil: Sir Edgar, with his black and red clothing and his snake. It's a wonder that people trust him.
- Playing With Puppets: When Edgar demonstrates to Ella that he's aware of her curse, he makes her touch her toes, jump up and down on the spot, and dance the Hokey-Cokey before getting on with his actual plan.
- Regent for Life: Sir Edgar.
- Restraining Bolt: Ella's curse.
- Self-Disposing Villain: Carey Elwes' character catches the Idiot Ball in the most blatant (yet hilarious) manner possible when he puts on the crown he himself had previously poisoned in order to murder his nephew at the coronation.
- Soapbox Sadie: Ella and Areida become this.
- Sudden Musical Ending: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in a Crowd Song to end the film.
- Lampshaded by the narrator guy.
Narrator: Such is the tale of Ella of Frell, a spunky young woman once under a spell. If there's one thing it to learn it's you just can't go wrong, if you follow your heart and end with a song
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Slannen the elf falls in love with a giantess.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sir Edgar.
- Un Paused: Ella is ordered to freeze by the guards as she is in mid-leap over a wine barrel. When the order is countermanded, she crushes it beneath her.
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The critical moment of the movie is at midnight; Char chose to propose at midnight in the Hall of Mirrors because his father did that too. Since Edgar's instructions regarding the sequence of events were quite specific "At midnight etc. etc." one wonders what would've happened had Char been delayed or something.