“Holidays” for me means “movies” so here we go:
I went and watch Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” with a friend last week (hey, what can I say? I have a soft spot for Disney). This movie starts out with Tiana and her rich friend Charlotte listening to Tiana’s mother Eudora (Oprah Winfrey) tell the story of the Princess and the Frog while Eudora is finishing one of Charlotte’s many princess dresses. Charlotte is all for the idea of kissing a frog as long as it means she gets to be a real princess, whereas Tiana is completely against the idea. Tiana and Eudora then go home, to Tiana’s father, James (Terrance Howard), where he shares his dream with Tiana to have a high-class restaurant of his own, called Tiana’s Place.
Fast forward about a decade, and you see Tiana (Anika Nori Rose) working multiple jobs, scrimping, and apparently never going out with her friends because, despite all the nay-sayers, she wants her restaurant is prepared to work really hard to get it. She has the added reason of wanting to see it fulfilled because her father died in WWI, and she wants to be able to make her dream come to fruition.
At the same time, Prince Naveen (Bruno Compos) from a fictional country comes with his servant Lawerence (Peter Bartlett). Prince Naveen, we discover, has been cut off financially from his family for basically being a lazy lay-about. Now he has to get married in order to support his habit of doing nothing but a shifty lay-about, and, judging from the look of the girls that are sighing at his feet, shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Especially since Miss Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) is still aching for her prince, and Big Daddy LaBoff (John Goodman), the sugar baron of New Orleans, and Miss Charlotte’s father has arranged for Prince Naveen to come and stay at his guest house.
Prince Naveen’s visit is fortuitous for Tiana as well, because Charlotte in an act that is part generous and mostly curious pays Tiana quite a lot of money to make her famous desserts* which gives her just enough money to buy an abandoned sugar mill for her restaurant. She goes and tells the financiers that she wants it, and they promise to bring the paperwork at Big Daddy’s party for Tiana to sign.
Prince Naveen, on the way to the LaBoff’s, is waylaid by a voodoo priest that everyone calls “The Shadowman” (Keith David). The Shadowman makes a deal with Voodoo spirits and tricks Naveen into coming into his “lair” despite Lawerence’s warning.
At the party, Tiana is heartbroken to discover that the financiers did not bring the paperwork because someone has apparently out-bid her. She has until Wednesday to come up with the remaining money, or her dream of starting a restaurant will not come to fruition. At the same party, Miss Charlotte is going crazy because Prince Naveen has not yet showed up. Yet, she calms down enough to help Tiana into one of her millions of princess gowns after the dog, Stella, ruins Tiana’s costume.
Just after Tiana gets into her dress, Charlotte hears Prince Naveen enter and is away in a fog of squeals to waltz the night away with her beloved. Tiana is left in Charlotte’s room, and finally gives wishing on a star a try, seemingly having run out of options. A frog jumps up on the balcony and she asks it if it wants a kiss, and then completely freaks out when it answers “A kiss would be nice”. After she calms down a bit, Naveen introduces himself, and convinces her to kiss him because “His parents are very wealthy”. After much waffling, Tiana decides to pucker up and kiss him, only to become a frog herself.
The two are chased out into the bayou, and after finding a hiding place from some very hungry alligators, discover that neither is whom the other thought they were. Naveen admits that he’s broke, and Tiana says she’s not a princess- she’s a waitress. They decide to find away to get back to New Orleans, and while Tiana is rowing, Naveen decides to play a little banjo. His banjo-playing attracts the attention of Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), a jazz-trumpet playing alligator. He wants to play in a jazz band, but his one attempt ended poorly. He tells them about Mama Odie, a good voodoo priestess who could probably help them out. He decides to take them to Mama Odie, also deciding to try and see if she would turn him into a human too.
Louis gets them hopelessly lost, so a Cajun firefly by the name of Ray (Jim Cummings) gives them a hand.
The rest gives away massive spoilers, so I’ll just let you watch it from there.