The Princess and the Frog features Disney’s first black heroine.
It is set in New Orleans where the main character, Tiana wants her own upscale restaurant.
The hero — a lazy spendthrift, ne’er-do-well prince booted off the family fortune — gets turned into a frog and his frog-looking assistant is turned into the prince so he can marry a wealthy woman.
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The frog convinces Tiana that a kiss will return him to mortal status and for the kindness he’ll get her the cash to make the restaurant a reality. She puckers up, plugs her nose and does the deed. Presto — Tiana is turned into a frog and off they go on an adventure to get things returned to normal.
Tiana and the prince’s story is peppered with some good and some not-so-good cajun music from Disney mainstay Randy Newman. It also reunites the Aladdin and The Little Mermaid team of Ron Clements and John Musker who patiently hand-draw the film’s every frame — the first time Disney has done that since 2004.
More attention has been paid to charges of Disney racism than to the story, characters and song. Tony Award-winning star Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) does the lead character vocal and manages to bring Newman’s so-so music to life. Oprah Winfrey gave Disney her blessing and does a small part. So does Terrence Howard.
A goofy alligator and a firefly provide pratfalls. Kids will find them boring. It won’t be techno enough for the movie’s target pre-teen and teen girls. Two songs in, and they’ll be diving for the cell phone and texting friends.
Yes, Disney probably should have done something like this a couple of decades ago. But do we have to bring race into everything? Forget race. The Princess and the Frog deserves to be skipped because it’s slow and boring.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated G. It opens Friday, Dec. 11 at the Carmike 12 and at Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.