screenplay by Andrew Adamson and Joe Stillman and J. David Stem & David N. Weiss
directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
by Walter Chaw Neither better nor worse than its predecessor, think of Shrek 2 as a step sideways--it doesn't so much earn an audience as inherit one. A DreamWorks/PDI production, Shrek 2 transplants the first picture's bitterness towards Disney, though the characters it skewers are in the public domain (Sleeping Beauty, the three little pigs, Hansel & Gretel, Pinocchio, and so on) and happen to be among the icons that Disney, by and large, never dishonoured. Without a viable target, then, the film is the kind of satire-less satire that mistakes being a self-congratulatory trivia game designed for beginning players for being a post-modern commentary on fairytales and, more specifically, the traditional Disney animated feature. There's no sharpness inherent in making reference to Spider-Man or Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings saga (just as there was no sharpness in referencing The Matrix in the original), and imitation has no point of view, just a brief rush of pride and bemusement for folks generally unused to catching the allusions. To say the picture functions best for the lowest common denominator (note a trio of flatulence gags) isn't entirely fair--but it's accurate.