Giselle lives in the beautiful animated land of Andalasia, where Genre Tropes abound. She falls in Love At First Sight with the handsome Prince Edward, and they are to be wed the very next day. But his stepmother, the wicked Queen(-Regent) Narissa, doesn't want to surrender the throne, so she throws Giselle down a Portal Pool to modern day, live action, New York City. There she is rescued by Robert, a divorce lawyer who doesn't put much stock in "Happily Ever After". Prince Edward follows Giselle to New York in hopes of rescuing her, Robert's fiancée Nancy is caught in the middle, and Queen Narissa follows Giselle in hopes of killing her.
The movie is a Decon Recon Switch of classic Disney fairy tales, and continuously bounces between both ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Either way, though, it's still fun, never cheesy (save the opening, which is supposed to be cheesy), and doesn't take itself too seriously. The hand-drawn animation in this film, as well as how well it won the audiences over, were probably yet another reason why Disney chose to return to producing 2D films on their own.
A sequel was announced for 2011, but according to composer Alan Menken, it has been shelved.
- Giselle, once she lands in New York.
- Prince Edward is this as well.
- Action Girl: After spending most of the movie as a Princess Classic, Giselle turns into one to fight the Big Bad.
- Affectionate Parody: Disney sends up their own animated canon, and they have a lot of fun doing it.
- All Men Are Perverts: "Remember, when you go out, not to put on too much makeup, otherwise the boys will get the wrong idea. And you know how they are... They're only after one thing." From the 6-year old, no less.
- All Part of the Show:
- The bystanders to the True Love's Kiss scene assume it was some kind of performance...until Narissa transformed into a dragon. And even then, some of them bemoan the "special effects".
- Also, the patrons at the Italian restaurant applaud after Nathaniel's fight with Pip, although it's not clear whether they think it was all a show, or they're just that glad the rodent's gone.
- Award Bait Song: "So Close", which weirdly enough, is the one song in the movie where the placement makes sense—it's used as the "slow dance" song at a ball. Giselle's magic voice not necessary! Strangely enough, it's a bittersweet love song—apt for our leading couple but presumably less so for the other dancers, who, while invited to dance with someone they did not come to the ball with, presumably do not have the same unresolved feelings for one another. Despite "So Close" being the only true award bait song, the film took 3 of the 5 nomination slots in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars. Although it lost to the Award Bait Song in Once, Enchanted's domination, a year after Dreamgirls accomplished the same feat, made the Academy put a one-song-per-film cap on the nominations.
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Beauty Equals Goodness
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Giselle can never, ever get dirty. (She does get slightly dirty on the bottom of her dress in the beginning.)
- Betty and Veronica: Gender Flipped but otherwise played straight.
- Big Bad: Queen Narissa.
- Big Damn Kiss: Robert and Giselle's kiss in the rain near the end of the movie.
- Bigger on the Inside: Giselle's carriage has room for all of her animal friends, including a cow. Really, it was already quite a stunt to get her dress to fit in there comfortably.
- Non Sequitur Scene: A rare in-universe version. Robert is confused when all of Central Park bursts spontaneously into song during the "That's How You Know". To him it's a BLAM. His reaction is also a lampshade of the Spontaneous Choreography, since unlike a pure BLAM the sequence also advances the plot. It leads to a romantic make-up gift from Robert to Nancy because of the earlier Not What It Looks Like scene.
- Big "Never!": Delivered by Narissa during the opening. It's so big, in fact, that she briefly appears to turn into a dragon.
- The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In / Stepping Stone Sword: Giselle apparently has enough strength to make a thrown sword pierce a metal decoration, with enough strength to support a grown man's weight.
- Blithe Spirit: Giselle.
- When this movie is aired on TV, a portion of Giselle and Morgan's conversation about "boys being after only one thing" is cut.
- The scene where Pip poops is omitted in the Disney Channel airings of the movie, but not in the ABC Family airings.
- The Disney Channel airing omits a scene in which Edward takes advantage of a guard's being distracted by a dog taking a leak in order to slip into Robert's apartment complex unnoticed. Instead, he is shown simply entering the apartment without havng to distract anyone first.
- Brainless Beauty:
- Giselle too, though she improves by the end.
- Cassandra Truth: Robert assumes that some old lady is lying to Giselle about having seen Edward. Said old lady was on the bus he stabbed with his sword.
- Cell Phone: Used by Robert and Nancy, busy businesspeople. (Robert seems to not even have a landline in his apartment.) Nancy finds out that Andalasia has great reception, right before she chucks her phone for good and it smashes into a million pieces.
- Chekhov's Skill: Pip's ability to be the Wafer-Thin Mint that weighs down a branch or building spire.
- City of Weirdos: once the main characters arrive in New York City. Robert is obviously the Straight Man to Giselle.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Nancy and Edward, after Robert falls for Giselle.
- Cloudcuckooland: Andalasia.
- Coincidental Broadcast: The TV in Edward's motel room is showing an interview with Giselle when he asks it to reveal where she is. It does appear that he's been channel surfing all evening, though.
- Could This Happen to You?: The news report of Pip being spotted at the restaurant parodies this, with the reporter rhetorically asking if this is a sign of a rising trend.
- Crapsack Only by Comparison: New York for Giselle, at least initially.
- Creative Closing Credits: The credits featured animated silhouettes with a "woodblock printed paper" background, many of them references to previous Disney films.
- Creepy Cockroach: Played with in the "Happy Working Song" scene, in which roaches pitch in to help the rats and pigeons clean up the apartment.
- Crowd Song: Parodied as ruthlessly as is possible in a Disney movie with the scene in Central Park.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Played for Laughs when Nathaniel clips Pip to a hanger and leaves him in the closet.
- Curtain Clothing: On her second day in New York, Giselle makes herself a dress out of Robert's living room curtains (complete with shot of the curtains hanging in the windows with appropriately-shaped holes in them); Robert is furious. On day three, she makes herself another dress out of Morgan's bedclothes; by this point, Robert is merely resigned.
- Cutting the Electronic Leash: Nancy, after hanging a lampshade on how a cell phone still gets reception in a magical fairytale kingdom.
- Damsel in Distress: Gender Flipped, which Narissa humorously lampshades.
- Dance of Romance: The only possible explanation behind Nancy and Edward's Last-Minute Hookup.
- Dances and Balls: Being a sort of parody on Fairy Tales, it has a dramatic and grand Dance Ball near the end. It's complete with Giselle looking stunning in her dress and Robert showing that, although he doesn't like dancing, he actually can.
- Deadpan Snarker: Robert until his lifeview becomes more idealistic.
- Decon Recon Switch: For princess and Disney fairytale tropes.
- Description Cut:
"I've never met Edward's stepmother but I've heard she's lovely." (cut to Narissa entering the human world, all dark and ominous)
- Of course, since she is Susan Sarandon, she is lovely, even dark.
- Development Hell: Disney bought an early version of the script in 1997.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Queen Narissa's evil is brought to Edward's attention only when Nathaniel tells him she's evil.
- Disney Creatures of the Farce: In New York, Giselle's singing summons rats, pigeons, cockroaches, and flies! Well, it could be worse; she could have inadvertently shanghaied the neighbors' housepets.
- Disney Villain Death: It's like they read the friggin' page. Oh wait...
- Dude in Distress: At the end of the film, Narissa turns into an enormous dragon, grabbing Robert and flying with him to the top of the Woolworth Building, forcing Giselle to save the day.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Giselle goes barefoot in the animated segments.
- Double Subversion: A lot, due to the film's refusal to commit to being a parody or not.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Of course, since it's a parody of the movies that foster the mindset.
- Evil Overlooker: See the poster illustrating this article. That giant woman is Queen Narissa. And so is that giant worm so she's in it twice, both times in a watching pose. How's that for overkill?
- Evil Sorceress: Narissa (see Vain Sorceress below).
- Evil Stepmother: Played straight with Narissa. Averted with Nancy and eventually Giselle herself.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Narissa.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Giselle and Nancy each wear one.
- Falling Into His Arms: Played straight with Edward and Giselle, but more of a "Falling on top of his arms" with Giselle and Robert.
- False Soulmates: Towards the end, True Love's Kiss indicates that the couples Edward/Giselle and Robert/Nancy aren't meant to be with each other, but that Edward/Nancy and Robert/Giselle are.
- Fantastic Romance: Cartoon princess-to-be meets real world lawyer.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Early on, Robert discourages his daughter's interest in fairy-tales. He tries to encourage her in more practical dreams, giving a book about real-world heroines such as Madame Curie and Eleanor Roosevelt. It's implied that his divorce has left him disillusioned about love.
- Funny Background Event: There is one point in the big "That's How You Know" dance number where the performers are all marching across a bridge and people in the boats in the water below do not pay any attention to them.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Robert's divorce, a decision that deeply affected him and made him become a divorce lawyer.
- Fish Out of Water:
- Giselle, obviously, although a lot of things are ignored for the sake of keeping the plot on track.
- This actually gets subverted a bit, in the scene where Edward and Nathaniel are in a motel room, and turn on the TV. Initially, they're doing the traditional 'Fish out of Water' bit, but they fairly quickly figure out how to use it, that it's not tiny people trapped inside, and are even able to use the remote quite well. This is probably how someone who had never seen a TV would react: Alarm, but quick adaptation.
- Similarly, Giselle doesn't know how the shower works, but figures it out very quickly without any fuss. She also figures out how to empty the vacuum cleaner via a song verse.
- Foot Focus: The animated segment in the beginning features quite a lot of this.
- Early in the film, Giselle takes an apple that has been bitten and sees if she can use it as the mouth on her mannequin of the Prince. Later, she takes a near-fatal bite of a poisoned apple.
- Also, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example, the blast of fire unleashed in anger by the Queen near the beginning bears the silhouette of a gangly, serpentine-looking dragon. Guess what she turns into at the climax?
- Also Giselle's mannequin of her dream prince. Its appearance and the outfit it was wearing was really similar to Robert and what he wore to the ball.
- There's also a deleted scene included on the DVD where Nancy and a co-worker talk about how she's a closet romantic, foreshadowing her and Edward's Last-Minute Hookup.
- For Happiness: Giselle's life philosophy, whether it's musical numbers, pretty dresses, or giving love a second chance.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Lampshaded (it's the page quote for the trope) and played straight since it's an Affectionate Parody and homage.
- Friend to All Living Things: Both played straight AND spoofed.
- Genre Savvy: Narissa seems to know fairy tales pretty well, but suffers Genre Blindness at the end.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- When Nathaniel first pops out of the manhole, the road workers, exasperated, ask him if he's looking for a beautiful princess as Edward was. Nathaniel's reply: "No. A Prince, actually." The stunned expressions on the roadworkers' faces are obvious.
- The Not What It Looks Like scene is pretty much one long string of crap put past the radar or possibly Parental Bonus, since while the kids won't know what's implied, their parents will. For one thing, save for a towel, Giselle starts out naked on top of Robert. Nancy sarcastically asks if Robert was having some "grown-up girl bonding time." And when Giselle asks if Nancy thought they kissed, Robert replies: "Yeah. Something like that."
- Let's not forget Giselle exclaiming excitedly "Oh Nancy, the shower is wonderful!" Not that she knows any better...
- The scene immediately following the Crowd Song in which Nathaniel picks up Edward after he's fallen over. "You've fallen on your royal --" "I know, I know." But he fell forward, so "ass" seems unlikely. Royal jewels, perhaps?
- The scene where Edward is looking for Giselle in the apartment building. Behind the one of the doors he knocks on, he finds a stereotypical biker...who grins mischievously at him. Edward politely excuses himself. The romantic-looking scenery of the room behind the biker didn't help things any.
- Before that scene, Edward runs into a heavily pregnant woman (played by Judy Kuhn), who already has several children. Upon seeing him at the door, she sarcastically states "You're too late."
- Giselle's lusty moment where she starts fingering Robert's chest...in a Disney movie. This is also the only scene in the movie where his chest can be seen, so it's definitely intentional.
- Then there's this little nugget of dialogue, from Morgan and Giselle's shopping montage:
Morgan: And you don't wanna wear too much make-up, because then boys get the wrong idea...and you know they're only after one thing!
- The high volume of Crap Got Past the Radar probably comes from the fact that the script originally wasn't written for Disney (it was first purchased by Touchstone Pictures, Disney's adult label), or for kids. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly that ran just before the film's release, the original script was quite risqué and Disney had to cut lots of crap as it was. Considering the original script apparently contained a scene where Giselle gets mistaken for a stripper, there were probably lots of Censor Decoys for Disney to deal with.
- When Giselle runs over to the old homeless man, you can briefly see hookers on the street.
- The movie also gets literal crap past the radar. And not simple crap by itself: you know the Nobody Poops rule? It gets Averted big time when Narissa announces she's going to come to the real world, with Pip literally crapping himself. Onscreen.
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: Giselle's wedding dress, Edward's shirt, Nancy's wedding dress.
- Go Through Me: When Scaled Up Narissa announces she's going to kill everybody, starting with Giselle.
Robert: Over my dead body!
- Happily Ever After: Pretty much the theme of the entire movie.
- Heel Face Turn: Nathaniel.
- Held Gaze: Robert and Giselle do this at the ball during their Dance of Romance.
- Heroic BSOD: Giselle suffers a mild case of this when she learns about the concept of divorce.
- High Concept: "Hey, let's do a Refugee From TV Land plot with a Disney princess", said one exec to another.
- High Collar of Doom: Narrisa has an outfit with one.
- Hot Dad: The divorced Robert, who was played by Patrick Demsey AKA Dr McDreamy.
- I Do Not Speak Nonverbal: Prince Edward towards the now mute and impressive mime Pip.
- I Feel Angry: Other Trope Namer.
- Improvised Zipline: Pip the Chipmunk did this on a wire with a clothes hanger.
- Indecisive Parody: The movie never quite decides whether it's a true parody of the Disney Animated Canon or not.
- The Ingenue: Giselle.
- Ink Suit Actor: A very Justified example in the animated sequences, though the actual extent varies—Giselle's animated counterpart doesn't particularly resemble her, while Nathaniel's is such a spot-on caricature of Timothy Spall that viewers might figure out it's him before he even opens his mouth. Edward and Narissa are somewhere inbetween.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Giselle, if the shower scene is any indication.
- Ironic Echo: "Is this a big habit of yours, falling off stuff?"
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Edward realizes Giselle's true love is Robert, he immediately starts pushing Robert to kiss Giselle in order to save her with no jealousy whatsoever. Robert is hesitant, but then Nancy also relinquishes her former love and tells him to. Not terribly surprising considering Edward knew Gisselle for all of a day, less a miss right and more a miss right now.
- Knight in Shining Armour: The movie begins with Prince Edward saving Giselle from a troll and they plan to get married the next day.
- Lampshade Hanging:
- Pretty much the entire movie, but particularly the song "That's How You Know", where Robert, acting the part of the Straight Man, wonders how on earth everyone knows the words for a song he'd never heard.
- A great deal of Queen Narissa's dialog consists of this.
- Large Ham:
- Edward. James Marsden was clearly enjoying himself more than is street-legal, but that's part of the fun.
- Susan Sarandon as Narissa is even more remorselessly hammy. Narissa is such a Large Ham that she continues after going One-Winged Angel, which is normally the point where most villains lose their ability to speak.
- Last-Minute Hookup: Edward and Nancy.
- Lord Error-Prone: Edward, being that this movie deconstructs fairytales.
- Love At First Note: Edward immediately sets off to find the owner of the beautiful voice he hears singing.
- Love At First Sight: Intentionally parodied. Giselle falls out of a tree onto Edward's horse, and he immediately announces that they'll be married the next day.
- Love Epiphany: Giselle towards Robert ("Oh, my...")
- Love Makes You Evil: And rejection makes you good. What.
- Magical Girlfriend: What else would you call Giselle in New York?
- Make a Wish: Giselle goes to the portal between the two worlds because she thinks it's a wishing well.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Giselle, though she's not an entirely straight example given her character growth and the fact that Robert himself is performing a similar role for her.
- Meaningful Echo:
- "True love's kiss: the most powerful force in the world."
- A subtle one was that the first song sung in the film contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." The last song sung by Carrie Underwood in the Where Are They Now? Epilogue contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." Also counts as a Book Ends.
- Meet Cute: Lampshaded when Giselle falls onto Edward's horse running from a troll he was hunting.
"And in years to come we'll reminisce / How we came to love..."
- Missing Mom: Morgan and Giselle share a bonding moment over neither having ever had a "shopping with Mom" experience. Bonus points in that Morgan's mom isn't dead, but actually left her family.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Nathaniel gradually realises that he's just a convenient tool to Narissa, and steps forward to help the heroes at the end. The tipping point provides the page quote for the trope:
Nathaniel: I've always treated her like a queen, but lately I'm starting to feel there's this whole other side to her, like I don't even know her anymore.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The "Happy Working Song" ended with a (one-legged) pigeon eating a cockroach.
- Edward is ready to kill Robert, but when Giselle says he's just a friend, he says, "Oh, okay."
- Mr. Fanservice: Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden.
- Musical Chores: "Happy Working Song"
- The Music Meister: Giselle.
- Narrative Shapeshifting: The chipmunk can't speak outside the fairy tale world, so he tries using charades to warn Prince Edward that Nathaniel is planning to poison Giselle with an apple. It doesn't work; Edward just thinks the chipmunk is praising his greatness.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- A fairly minor example. The trailer set us up for a Subversion of a standard Non Sequitur Scene musical number. Turns out it was a Double Subversion.
- A bigger example: When the announcer says something about Robert having to help Giselle and Edward return to Andalasia "before time runs out", newcomers can easily assume that they will become trapped in New York after a certain number of days, especially since they show the clock striking twelve.
- Not What It Looks Like: Giselle, dressed only in a towel, falls out of the bathroom onto Robert. Right when Robert's girlfriend walks in.
- Novelization: There is one, and it's actually pretty good.
- Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Briefly seen in the "That's How You Know" montage, complete with a Parasol of Prettiness and a mariachi band on a couple of other boats.
- One-Winged Angel: Narissa turns into a dragon for the Final Battle, in a clear homage to Maleficent.
- Only One Name: Nathaniel. Even when he writes a book, only "Nathaniel" is printed on the cover as the author's name.
- Only Sane Man: Giselle starts singing in the middle of Central Park, a Crowd Song breaks out around her. Defrosting Ice King Robert, the one being sung to, is the only one who wonders how that is even possible.
Robert: He knows the song too? I've never heard this song before! What the hell is it?!
- Opposites Attract: Giselle, the cheery optimist, and Robert, the sarcastic pessimist.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Narissa's initial plan—obviously, it doesn't work.
- Pair the Spares: Edward and Nancy.
- Perspective Flip: Giselle's version of Little Red Riding Hood.
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Giselle's would-be wedding dress.
- Narissa and her HUGE collar.
- Pink Means Feminine: Giselle's first dress in the movie is pink.
- Playing Against Type: James Marsden made a career of playing the straight-laced Straight Man in action films and the like. This and Hairspray (also released in 2007) showed off his goofily disarming charm, nice comic timing, and a Broadway-caliber voice. Who knew?
- Pretty Freeloader: Giselle by essence, though she does help with cleaning up Robert and Morgan's apartment first thing in the morning... unconventional as her methods may be.
- Prince Charming: Edward, parodied. In addition to his cluelessness, he's revealed to have a bit of an ego problem, but he never gets to the level of Prince Charmless.
- Princess Classic: Giselle, also parodied.
- Prophetic Names: Robert's last name is Philip (Sleeping Beauty's prince) and Nancy's is Tremaine (Cinderella's evil stepfamily). This last one is a subversion, though, as Nancy is actually quite nice and ends up a fairy-tale princess herself.
- Pungeon Master: Like many Disney villains, Narissa engages in a bit of this once she has her big evil moment. "It's time to take our tale to new heights.... We're coming to the end of our story now. Are you at the edge of your seat, Giselle, just dying to know how it ends?"
- Record Needle Scratch: "Ever Ever After" and Edward's wedding to Nancy screech to a halt as Nancy's phone rings.
- Red Headed Heroine: Giselle.
- The Queen's Latin: Averted. In the fairytale land of Andalasia, they speak with American Accents.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Edward does this when interpreting what Pip is trying to tell him.
- Refugee From TV Land: The fairytale Princess, her handsome Prince, a wicked Queen, and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer all being transported to modern New York City.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The "turtles are cute" subversion.
- Required Secondary Powers: With just the sound of her voice, Giselle can control any animal and induce mass hypnosis in as large a group as she wishes. Why? Because Disney Princesses can just do that, and therefore so can Giselle, or she wouldn't be one. That's why. Likewise following classic Disney tropes, Pip is agile and intelligent, Nathaniel can disguise into any human bystander, Narissa has the power to transform into a creepy old lady and turn into a dragon, and Prince Edward...is a Large Ham.
- Romantic False Lead: Nancy, Robert's fiancée who takes up Giselle's place and marries Prince Edward in the end. Edward counts here, too.
- Scaled Up: Narissa transforms into a dragon as a homage to Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Narissa on Nathaniel. Nathaniel begins to realize he's a dupe when he sees a soap opera variant.
- Shallow Love Interest: Prince Edward parodies this typical status that Disney princes have.
- Shopping Montage: In this case however, the "protégée" is an adult, and the person who takes her shopping is a child.
- The movie is full of them, particularly to disney classic movies: The book opening sequence is a shoutout to many disney classics. When Giselle is looking at the fishbowl a song from The Little Mermaid plays on the background. (And Jodi Benson plays Edward's Secretary in that scene) While in the italian restaurant, "La Bella Notte" from Lady and the Tramp plays, the restaurant itself is called after the song. The scene where Nathaniel helps Edward to take his boots off is an obvious shout-out to the Beauty and The Beast. Edward also watches a soap opera staring Paige O'Hara while a mysterious sounding "Beauty and the Beast" motif plays. Giselle wears glass shoes to the ball, and the scene where she takes the bite of the poison apple mimics the one in Snow White... Narissa herself is a big shoutout to many disney villainesses, specially to Maleficent; green electricity-based powers, similar outfits and the fact that she turns into a dragon while bursting in flames.
- There's also a big shout-out to King Kong in Narissa's death scene.
- Show Within a Show: The soap opera that appears on the TV in Edward's motel room, starring Paige O'Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast) no less. Even better, the background music of said soap opera takes cues from the song "Beauty and the Beast".
- Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: Nathaniel.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Idealism may be easier and less painful, but cynicism is more fun.
- Skepticism Failure: It takes Robert a very long time to admit to himself that Giselle really is magical, despite watching her magical song powers in action.
- Slap Slap Kiss: Giselle is really turned on by how Robert makes her—what is it called? -- so angry!
- Somebody Else's Problem: A young woman wearing a huge poofy wedding dress pops out of a manhole and runs into traffic, babbling about a prince and a castle and gets nothing more than a few confused/annoyed Aside Glances—well, this is New York City!
- Speech-Impaired Animal: Pip in New York becomes a literal example. Back in Andalasia he's a Talking Animal like all the animals in Andalasia.
- Star-Making Role: Rightfully turned Amy Adams into a instant star.
- Stock Scream:
- The troll has Goofy's scream, or something remarkably similar, when he gets thrown in the air.
- And a Wilhelm Scream can be heard at the start of Narissa's transformation.
- The troll has Goofy's scream, or something remarkably similar, when he gets thrown in the air.
- Suggestive Collision: Giselle, dressed only in a towel, falls out of the bathroom onto Robert. Right when Robert's girlfriend walks in.
- Summon Backup Dancers: When Giselle sings in Central Park.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Narissa can turn any body of water (or soup, or alcohol) in the real world into a spy camera.
- Take That: At the beginning of the movie, when the old hag, who's really Narissa in disguise, pushes Giselle into the well, she says that she sent her to a place "where there are no happily ever afters." It turns out to be modern-day New York in reality. Nice.
- Theme Tune Cameo: "Part of Your World" and "Beauty and the Beast".
- This Is Reality
Giselle: What sort of awful place is this?
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Even if you're a princess.
- Throw It In: The novelization of the film provides some insight as to which lines were ad libbed. It follows pretty much the entire script of the movie and even some of the deleted scenes, so the comic material not included was most likely ad libbed. This includes a couple of the more risque lines, such as Nancy's comment about Robert and Giselle having some "grown-up girl bonding time" and Morgan's comment that "Boys are only after one thing", but nobody will tell her what it is. Morgan's "Kick what?" response to Nancy's line "Hey, girl, you ready to kick it?" isn't in the novel, nor is Edward's "I don't know what melodramatic means." And then there's this amusing exchange between Robert and Morgan when they're trying to shoo away the vermin from Giselle's "Happy Working Song":
Morgan: (holding up two rats) What do I do with them?
Let yourself be enchanted/You just might break through/To ever ever after!
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Giselle is definitely a very frilly and girly girl, while Nancy is a career woman who wears pantsuits and glasses.
- Took a Level in Badass: Giselle in the climax.
- Trapped in Another World
- Tree Buchet: The troll in the beginning of the movie has this happen to him.
- True Love's Kiss:
- Giselle has an "I Want" Song called "True Love's Kiss".
- It's also played straight near the end of the movie, when, like a good Disney princess, she's hexed to sleep. She needs a Troperiffic True Love's Kiss before midnight (of course) in order to wake up. Robert, of course, manages to rouse her in the nick of time with a True Love's Kiss.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: The scene when Giselle trails off mid-rant because she's been distracted by Robert-in-his-bathrobe virtually screams this. That, or Distracted by the Sexy.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Zigzagged. Giselle's initial arrival in New York does get some odd looks (the fact that she causes a traffic accident certainly helps), and Edward's antics with the bus and Pip's appearance in the Bella Notte make the local news... but otherwise their presence (including Pip in another restaurant) doesn't garner a lot of notice. Also, Nathaniel manages to sneak into the latter restaurant's kitchen with only a chef's hat and strike up a conversation with a pot of soup without attracting too much unwanted attention.
- Up the Real Rabbit Hole: After one attempt to locate it, as far as Robert is concerned, Andalasia (a very real if Magical Land) is "fantasy", and This Is Reality. Nobody ever corrects him or acts as if this makes anything but perfect sense.
- Urine Trouble: When Edward is lurking outside Robert's apartment complex, waiting for an opportunity to get in a "rescue" Giselle, a passing dog relieves itself on his boot.
- Vain Sorceress: Narissa. Though, that must have been intentional; she is meant to be an amalgamation/parody/lampshade of the classic Disney "Evil/VainSorceress" villains, most notably Maleficent, the Queen from Snow White, Ursula, and perhaps just a dash of Lady Tremaine (well, that last one doesn't really use magic unless you count one of the sequels, but still).
- Verbed Title
- Villains Blend in Better: Nathaniel seems to have much less trouble navigating New York than Giselle does, showing up in a variety of guises and apparent jobs. (Possibly he has a fairytale-villain-instant-disguise trait that carries over the way Giselle's fairytale-heroine-magic-singing trait does.)
- Wafer-Thin Mint: Pip has this effect on a tree branch that's already holding Giselle and a giant troll. And again on a metal spire Narissa is on.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?:
- Not quite. While Giselle's band of woodland animal friends in Andalasia does contain a lot of "cute" animals, we also see a warthog, an alligator, and other decidedly non-cute-standard creatures.
- Thoroughly deconstructed when Giselle calls the creatures of New York to help her clean Robert's home for him and ends up with an entourage of rats, pigeons, and cockroaches. With a queasy look: "Well...it's always nice to make new friends..." Eventually she gets along with them just fine "...even though you're vermin."
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: We actually see that the clock is designed to start striking before the hour. For some reason. See the Fridge Brilliance page for one editor's theory.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: It shows that Edward and Nancy got married in Andalasia. Giselle opens up a new fashion/boutique business, staying with Robert. After staying in New York, Nathaniel becomes a successful author, as well as Pip back in Andalasia.
- Widescreen Shot: When the viewers first enter Andalasia, black bars appear on the left and right sides to make the picture appear as narrow as the movies Disney released during The Renaissance Age of Animation. The picture expands and fills the bars when Giselle crosses through into the live-action world.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Nathaniel.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: A rodent in a New York City restaurant makes the nightly news? Maybe if it was a high-end restaurant, but it doesn't seem to be. Bonus points for twisting it into a parody of Could This Happen to You? pieces.
- X Meets Y: "Disney meets Reality".
- You're Crazy!
- You Said You Couldn't Dance: Word for word.
Giselle: You said you couldn't dance!