Surely innocent children deserve better than this witch's brew of cheesy special effects, flatulence jokes and grotesque over-acting. It's bedtime, and Father (Daniel Roebuck) reads his tykes a version of the celebrated fairy tale. In this version, the Stepmother (Delta Burke) is itching to get her hands on a family heirloom before ditching her step-family. After her sending her woodcutter husband (Gerald McRaney) on a fool's errand, Stepmother pockets the locket and leaves her stepkids, Hansel (Jacob Smith) and Gretel (Taylor Momsen), deep in the forest. Free of her maternal responsibilities, Stepmother finds herself without direction and wanders aimlessly in the woods. Meanwhile, Hansel and Gretel barely escape the clutches of a Troll, who finds himself singing a different tune when he threatens their blowsy Stepmom; the virago turns him into her hen-pecked slave. Meanwhile, the Wood Fairy (Alana Austin) and the Sandman (Howie Mandel) give Hansel and Gretel some storybook survival tips. But their woodland pals can't baby sit for the youngsters forever, and when the kids spot a candy-coated cottage, they throw caution to the wind. The apparently kindly old old lady (Lynn Redgrave) who owns the edible house turns out to be a ravenous witch who turns Gretel into a household drudge and starts fattening Hansel for a proposed meal. The kids' effort to stay out of the cooking pot are abetted by their magical playmates, who believe children should be seen and not eaten. This loud, loathsome kiddie picture slops down anachronisms and winks over its own cuteness.
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