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Shrek Forever After

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In this fourth and final installment of the Shrek franchise, our green hero feels emasculated by the grind of domesticity (marriage, fatherhood) and worn down by the demands of celebrity. His failure to realize that his is, indeed, a wonderful life leads him to utter a wish to cavort for just one day in his old life of swampy bachelorhood. The wish is granted by the conniving Rumpelstiltskin, whose enforcement of contractual fine print lands Shrek in a brutal parallel universe in which Rumpelstiltskin rules the kingdom of Far, Far Away with an army of witches as his muscle. There, Fiona leads an underground resistance, Donkey has no memory of Shrek but still steals almost every scene he's in, and an obese Puss walks away with whatever scenes Donkey doesn't. It takes the film a long time to kick in, and when it does, it largely retreads formula: ironic use of pop standards, musical numbers with contemporary choreography played for laughs, risqué one-liners. By the middle of the second act, Forever After finally finds its groove, becoming mildly amusing but never rising to the inspired heights of the original. And the 3-D effects are so weak, they bring nothing to the table.

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