If you’re going to do a campy fairy tale, you either have to go big or go home — and “Mirror, Mirror” does neither, putting only a toe in the silly end of the pool.
Director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (“Immortals”) puts a beautifully candy-colored gloss on the Snow White story, as the sheltered princess (Lily Collins) seeks to escape the castle and her vain stepmother, the Queen (Julia Roberts). On her own, Snow first encounters the handsome Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer), and they fall for each other even though the Queen has plans to bewitch and marry him. The Queen orders her toady Brighton (Nathan Lane) to take Snow out to the woods to kill her. But when Brighton chickens out, Snow lands in the company of seven thieving dwarves.
Screenwriters Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller create a proactive Snow White who learns swordplay and self-confidence so she doesn’t have to be rescued by some prince, but Collins is too lightweight to make the transformation stick. Roberts can’t pull off the broad comedic strokes required here, but the studly Hammer (“The Social Network”) shows a willingness to throw himself headfirst into goofball humor.
“Mirror, Mirror” has neither the satiric wit of “The Princess Bride” nor the campy cuteness of “Ella Enchanted,” but it has its moments, particularly with the snarky and decidedly un-Disneyesque banter of the seven dwarves.
Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor; 106 minutes.