The Princess and the Frog (2009)
A modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. The Princess and the Frog finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana crossing paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician and Tiana, following suit, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.
A waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.
- In New Orleans, a young girl named Tiana ( Elizabeth M. Dampier) and her mother are visiting the La Bouff family, where Tiana's mother Eudora (Oprah Winfrey) is crafting a dress for the family's daughter, Charlotte (Breanna Brooks). Charlotte is a lover of fairy tales, and Eudora reads the two the story of "The Frog Prince." While Charlotte is enamoured with kissing a frog that becomes a prince, Tiana finds the thought disgusting.
Upon returning home, Tiana helps her father, James (Terrence Howard) prepare gumbo. As the meal is finished, her father tells of his dream to one day open his own restaurant. When Tiana eagerly chimes in that she wants to help, her father claims they'll call it Tiana's Place. Upon seeing the Evening Star outside her window, Tiana makes a wish, to which her father explains that wishing can only go so far, and that she has to help that wish along.
As time passes, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) holds onto the dream, even after her father has passed away. Working two different jobs, Tiana spends almost all of her time working and saving for a place, with little time for friends or fun. One morning, she runs into Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) and her father 'Big Daddy' La Bouff (John Goodman), who has been named King of the Mardi Gras for the fifth year in a row. Charlotte is incredibly excited that a visiting prince named Naveen (Bruno Campos) is in New Orleans. As Naveen is single, Charlotte hopes to fulfill her wish of marrying a prince and living happily ever after, and has invited him to attend a social function at the family mansion.
Knowing of Tiana's cooking skills, Charlotte pays her friend a large sum of money to cater the event. Tiana is pleased, as the money is just enough to allow her to purchase the place to start her restaurant. Tiana contacts the building's owners and shows the place to her mother. While Eudora is pleased, she is worried that Tiana seems to have no time for herself, with her one-mindedness regarding the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Prince Naveen is entertaining a crowd; playing the ukelele with a band, and dancing. His assistant Lawrence (Peter Bartlett) angrily comes up to him, complaining that the two would be late for the La Bouff's masquerade. Naveen brushes the issue off, and offers to buy everyone in the crowd a drink, but Lawrence reveals that the prince is broke. His only options of fixing his financial state are to marry a wealthy young lady, or get a job. Relucantly, Naveen agrees, but a spectactle soon ensues, resulting in the two landing dizzily on the footpath. A tall man, introducing himself as Dr. Facilier (Keith David) greets them, and hands Naveen a business card reading 'Tarot Readings, Charms, Potions, Dreams Made Real', before pretending to read the prince's palm and recognising him as a royal. Naveen eagerly informs Lawrence of Facilier's feat, but the assistant grabs a newspaper with the prince's face printed on it, from the witch doctor's back pocket and calls him a charlatan. Facilier has a brief flash of anger, before he regains his composure and invites the others into his shop. Naveen and Lawrence each take three of his tarot cards. Facilier looks at Naveen's cards, and deduces that he is from across the sea, and despite being royalty has little money, due to his parents cutting off his funds. He says the prince needs to marry a rich young woman, but this would conflict with his urges to be free. Lastly, the Shadow Man states that although freedom takes money, he sees the prince being wealthy in his future. He then moves onto Lawrence, and after inspecting the assistant's cards, concludes that although he has been pushed around by others all his life, he will be the man he always wanted to be; namely, Lawrence being wealthy, powerful and the boss of Naveen. Facilier offers both men his hand, and while Naveen uncertainly shakes it, Lawrence does so with fervour. Quickly, the witch doctor gets down to work, pricking the prince's finger and filling up a small head-shaped talisman with his blood. Transformations begin to change both Naveen and Lawrence, but the scene darkens before anything noticeable occurs.
At the La Bouff mansion, Tiana shows up to cater the event, and soon, Prince Naveen arrives. Charlotte eagerly goes to him for a dance. As Tiana watches her friend, she discovers the realtors of the property have also attended the function, as they approach her and the food. Tiana eagerly tells of her wish to sign the papers to the building as .soon as possible, but the two men explain that someone else has offered a larger sum, and are planning to deny her the property, unless she can come up with more money. Upset and heartbroken, Tiana accidentally makes a mess of her outfit. Charlotte, seeing her friend in need, allows her to change out of the outfit, into a blue gown with tiara. While in Charlotte's room, she sees the star shining in the sky, and wishes for help regarding her restaurant. As she looks down, she finds a frog sitting near her, and sarcastically asks it if it wants a kiss. To her surprise, the frog replies, and Tiana screams and races back inside. After unsuccessfully dodging the stuffed animals thrown at him and being smacked with a book, the frog is finally able to tell Tia, that he is Prince Naveen of Maldonia. She then asks him, that if he is Prince Naveen, who is the person dancing with Charlotte downstairs, to which he replies that he has no idea. Suddenly, he spots the name of the book Tiana is holding; The Frog Prince. He, under the impression that Tia is a princess, tells her that like what happens in the book, if she kisses him, he will turn back into a prince. She abruptly refuses, but when Naveen mentions that his wealthy family might be able to reward her in some way, Tiana thinks about her restaurant, and determindedly plants a kiss on the frog.
To the horror of both parties, not only is Naveen still a frog, but Tia has changed into one two. Shocked and angry, she launches herself at the prince and tackles him, until they both go flying out the window onto a drum set, before falling into the neck of Charlotte's dress. 'Big Daddy' La Bouff yells for Stella the dog to catch the frogs, who run across a dinner table before escaping via a bunch of balloons.
As the masquerade comes to an abrupt end, the Prince Naveen imposter hurries into a nearby cottage and opens up a cabinet to find an empty jar. Dr. Facilier appears from behind him and accuses him of letting the real prince/frog go. The imposter is revealed to be Lawrence, who can only keep the prince's form if he is wearing the blood-filled talisman around his neck. Lawrence, having second thoughts about the deceit, throws the talisman to Facilier, telling him to wear it instead. The Shadow Man angrily shouts for him to be careful with the object, and then replies that even if he wanted to be the fake prince, the voodoo magic wouldn't work on him. They also discuss their plan; Lawrence is going to marry Charlotte, then Facilier would dispose of Big Daddy, and their fortune would be shared.
Still clutching onto the balloon strings, Tiana discovers that the reason why Naveen was changed into a frog was because he was messing with voodoo, and stubbornly states that the only way to get things in life is through hard work. Taken aback, Naveen questions why a princess would ever have to work, and Tia replies that she's a waitress not a princess. Outraged, the prince exclaims that that was why the kiss didn't work, and the two engage in a heated argument before the balloons suddenly pop and they are sent falling into a lake. They narrowly escape a large fish and then an aggressive crane, followed by a group of hungry alligators from which they hide in an old tree and spend the night.
In the morning, Tiana makes a small raft so that the two can make their way back to New Orleans and become humans again. To her annoyance, Naveen doesn't help with the paddling, and instead sits and plays a twig-guitar. Tia turns around to give him a piece of her mind, but sees a huge alligator that looks as if it's about to eat up Naveen. To both of the frog's surprise however, the alligator pulls out a trumpet and launches into a jam session with the prince, and introduces himself as Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley). Naveen explains that he and Tiana are both humans, turned into frogs by voodoo magic, to which Louis replies that a woman named Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) is the voodoo queen of the bayou, and she can perform similar feats. As the journey to her lair is so dangerous however, he flatly refuses when the two ask if he can take them there. Disappointed, Tiana is about to return to her paddling, when Naveen hops off the raft and suavely persuades Louis to guide them to Mama Odie's. He says that the witch could probably turn the toothy alligator into a human as well, so that he could fulfill his dream of playing with the jazz musicians of the city. This is too much for Louis, who swiftly agrees to take them there.
Back at the La Bouffe's, Charlotte and Lawrence, posing as Prince Naveen have tea together. Suddenly, one of Lawrence's ears appears to swell up, although it has really just returned to it's normal size. Worriedly, he checks the talisman and sees that half of the blood has been used up. He nervously blames his ear on mosquitoes, but just as quickly, his backside enlarges. Lawrence manipulates and maneuvres Charlotte so she can't see his transformation back into his plump self, just as his chin and stomach swell up. To distract her, he hurriedly proposes to her, and Charlotte accepts before happily waltzing away. Dr. Facilier appears from nowhere and watches as all the blood is drained and Lawrence returns entirely to his former body. As the assistant had let Naveen free so that his blood was currently unavailable, the Shadow Man is forced to ask for help from his 'friends on the other side'.
Meanwhile in the bayou, Tiana tells Louis about her big plans for the restaurant. Quickly the trio realises their hunger, and the frogs try fruitlessly to catch flies for food. But their inexperience falis their attempt, as Naveen and Tiana's tongues get tied in a knot. Louis tries to help but just makes the knot incredibly more complicated, before hurrying off to get a sharp stick. A firefly zooms down to observe the struggling couple, and chuckles at their discomfort. Soon enough however, he undoes the knot and introduces himself as Ray (Jim Cummings). The two explain their predicament to him, but the firefly says that they're heading in the wrong way if they want to meet Mama Odie. Right on cue, Louis runs in waving a sharp stick in the air but Ray whispers to Tiana to never take directions from an alligator, as they'll always get you lost. He then whistles, and immediately thousands of fireflies light up to show the group the way.
Dr. Facilier, back in his shop is asking large totem heads on the wall for assistance in retrieving Naveen, but they frown menacingly at his plea. As if expecting their negative answer however, Facilier assures them that as soon as he kills 'Big Daddy' La Bouff, the 'friends' can have all the souls of New Orleans for themselves. To this, the heads agree, and a multitude of shadows enter the room. Facilier orders them to find Naveen, and bring him back alive... for now.
Back at the bayou, Ray is farewelling his relatives as he prepares to go with Tiana, Naveen and Louis the rest of the way. He reveals to Tiana that he is in love with Evangeline, but Naveen advises the firefly to not settle down so quickly. Louis is pricked by a bush and melodramatically wails in pain until Ray calms him down to pull out the thistles. As the group is preoccupied, a trio of hunters lies in wait, planning to catch and eat Tia and Naveen. Unaware of the danger they're in, the two frogs walk away from the others, Tiana in front, chopping away at leaves in her path, and Naveen behind. After being told by Naveen that she doesn't know how to have fun, Tia angrily retorts that he's a lazy good-for-nothing. While they exchange heated words, Naveen is captured in a net by Reggie (Ritchie Montgomery), and Tia by Two Fingers (Paul Briggs). She escapes, just as Louis and Ray spots Reggie in a boat with guns, gloating over the prince. In his terror, Louis accidentally falls back in the thorn bushes, but the firefly flies up the old hunter's nose to distract him and set Naveen free. Running away from Darnell (Don Hall), Tia inadvertently lands herself in a trap box and is promptly sat upon by Reggie to prevent her escape. The prince bobs out of the water, gleeful with his freedom but sees Tiana trapped, and follows the boat. He sits on Reggie's head, causing Darnell to dimwittedly whack his father to try and hit the agile frog. Soon chaos ensues, and Tia is able to get out of her cage.
Naveen and Tiana return to Louis and Ray after their ordeal, while the firefly impatiently yanks the thistles out of the pained alligator. To make him feel better, Tia makes swamp gumbo but insists Naveen help by mincing the mushrooms while she gathers peppers. She returns to find him struggling with the task, and smiling, helps him. The prince admits that since his charmed life in the castle, he doesn't know how to do anything. One of the shadows under Facilier's orders, meanwhile, finds flowers as evidence of the frogs and lets out a piercing call. Soon the other shadows follow him and they make their way towards the prince.
After eating the swamp gumbo, Naveen compliments Tiana's cooking, saying she has a gift to which she thanks him. Ray changes the subject though, pointing to the sky and telling the others that the Evening Star is Evangeline. He sings about his love for her, but when Louis moves to interrupt and tell him that his love is actually a star, Naveen throws a nutshell at him and gestures for him to be quiet. The prince asks Tia to dance with him, but she dejectedly hops to another lilypad and sadly tells him that she doesn't dance. Naveen tugs her back near him however, and quietly tells her that if he can mince, she can dance. They begin dancing on a lilypad to Louis's trumpet, while Ray creates mood lighting. The pair are about to kiss, until Tia pushes him away and remarks that Charlotte was getting herself a superb dance partner. Suddenly, the shadows grab and drag Naveen away, but although the others run after him, it doesn't look like they're fast enough. Bursts of light from nowhere, hit the shadows and destroy them, rendering Naveen free, and as the group looks for their saviour, they meet Mama Odie.
She brings them back to her tree house and introduces them to her pet python Juju, who she uses as a walking stick. Tiana and Naveen try to get her attention to turn them back into humans, but she interrupts each of their attempts, by offering them candy, falling asleep and going to her gumbo pot. Eventually she answers their questions by trying to teach them the difference of wants and needs. Tiana doesn't understand however, so wearily Mama Odie shows them through the gumbo pot, how to turn human again; Naveen will have to kiss Charlotte before midnight, while she's princess of the Mardi Gras parade.
The group decide to make their way to New Orleans by following Louis' suggestion, and they sneakily climb aboard the river boat. A group of musicians soon make their way past however, and while Naveen, Ray and Tiana can hide, Louis is too big, and is noticed by them. Luckily for both parties however, the alligator is thought to be a human inside an alligator costume, and excitedly plays the trumpet and follows them. Ray and Tiana go to watch Louis play with 'the big boys', but Naveen mysteriously decides to stay back and says he'll catch up with the others later. He then fashions a ring out of rope and a beaded bracelet, before asking Evangeline why he can't just tell Tiana he loves her. Ray flies in in the wrong moment, and thinking Naveen is making a move on Evangeline begins to pummel him. Naveen quickly sets the record straight, but tells Ray to not tell Tiana about his love for her. Soon after, the prince leads Tia to a private dinner, where she is taken aback but delighted. He treats her to a minced dinner, but due to nerves, begins making mistakes, telling Tia he has dated thousands of women, then calling her one of the guys before tripping and upturning the food. She takes it in her stride though, giggling and saying she thinks it's cute. Naveen is about to propose to her, but Tiana interrupts, pointing out her future restaurant and gushing about her plans for it. When she mentions, however, that she needs the money by the next day, or she'll lose the restaurant forever, the prince realises he cannot marry her and disappointedly heads off. While Tiana talks to Evangeline, telling her about her uncertainty for the future, Naveen is being dragged off once again, by the shadows.
Charlotte is seen knocking on a door, calling for Prince Naveen to hurry up for the Mardi Gras wedding, while Lawrence worriedly procrastinates, saying he'll be ready shortly, but itching for Naveen's blood so he can take his form again. The shadows suddenly appear, and toss the prince into Facilier's hat, where they take more of his blood and drip it into the talisman. Back on the river boat, which has docked, everyone's getting off to play at the Mardi Gras, but Tiana asks Ray where Naveen is. Ray lets slip that Naveen loves her, and that he plans to marry her after kissing Charlotte and getting them both turned back into humans. Giddy with joy, Tiana hops around the Mardi Gras, looking for the float where Naveen would be kissing Charlotte, but instead sees the Prince imposter about to marry her. Mistaking Lawrence for the actual prince, Tia is devastated and tunes out Ray as he wonders how it can be true, when Mama Odie specifically said both frogs would be turned human once again.
Tia hops off sadly, and Ray flies through the city looking for her. Once he does, he tries to comfort her but Tiana angrily bursts out that Evangeline isn't real, and is just a star. Ray tearily tells Evangeline to not listen to Tia, and that she's only speaking out of a broken heart, before flying off to put things right. As Lawrence prepares to wed Charlotte, Facilier chuckles, preparing to kill Big Daddy through the use of a voodoo doll. Ray finds Naveen locked inside a small chest right next to Lawrence, and quickly sets him free. Naveen launches himself at the former assistant, and the two go tumbling off the float. Lawrence runs off to dispose of the frog, but the prince takes the talisman off his neck and throws it to Ray who flies away with it. The shadows and Facilier run after the firefly, and to help him, Louis stops playing and growls, alerting the other musicians that he's an actual alligator. As the crowd screams and parts, Louis runs off to help his friend.
Ray meanwhile, zooms towards Tiana, and quickly explains the nature of the talisman, claiming it proves that what they saw wasn't the truth. Tiana hops off with the object, while Ray stays behind to destroy as many shadows as possible. With his light, he kills a few of them, but Facilier soon arrives and knocks the firefly to the ground, before disgustedly stepping on him. A few seconds later, Louis comes running, calling for Ray, but finds the firefly lying on the ground and makes off for Tiana.
The shadows and Facilier continue chasing Tiana, but when she threatens to break the talisman into a million pieces, the Shadow Man casts an enchantment on her, causing her to look human again, and changes the setting, to her dream restaurant. She thinks she sees Naveen playing the ukulele in the corner of the room, but when the man turns around, she sees it isn't and is disappointed. Facilier meanwhile, tries to convince Tia to hand over the artifact, promising the restaurant and becoming a human again. When she refuses to, he brings up memories of her sacrifices and people doubting her abilities, and finally her father working hard but failing to get enough money for a restaurant. Facilier tells Tiana that she could get everything that her father ever wanted, but she determinedly tells the witch doctor that although her father never got what he wanted, he had what he needed. She throws the talisman to the ground, but it's snatched up by Facilier's shadow and the illusion immediately disappears.
Facilier cackles and tells her that she should have taken his deal, but using her tongue, Tia takes the talisman back and shatters it on the ground. The Shadow Man is horrified, and frets how he won't be able to pay back his debt. Totem heads come out of the stone heads, asking if he's ready, which he replies that he isn't. Voodoo dolls climb out of the ground, and in terror, he says that he has lots more plans, revealing that he has the prince locked away, to Tiana's surprise. An enormous totem head sucks in Facilier's shadow, and the hysterical witch doctor himself, to sacrifice his soul in exchange for his unpaid debts. Then the totem heads and voodoo dolls disappear, and a gravestone with the Shadow Man's face on it appears.
Charlotte angrily knocks on the door of the building which Lawrence is on, demanding that he open up. Finally, she breaks in, but instead of being the handsome Prince Naveen who she expects, fat, old Lawrence is the one who greets her. Horrified, she screams, and so does he, running past her into the night. The real prince, still in the form of a frog, calls her name, and after being squashed with a book, tells her who he is.
Tiana arrives, just in time to see Lawrence being hauled into the back of a police car. She then sees Charlotte and Naveen sitting on the steps, the latter explaining his and Tiana's predicament. Charlotte expects marriage, to which Naveen reluctantly agrees but puts emphasis on money being given to Tiana for her restaurant, saying that she is his Evangeline. As they are about to kiss, Tiana stops Naveen but he tells her that it is the only way to get her her dream. But she quietly replies that her dream wouldn't be complete, without him in it. Charlotte, seeing their love, agrees to kiss Naveen, without him having to marry her, but as she plants a kiss on him, the bell sounds, signalling midnight has passed. With seemingly no hope of becoming human again, the frogs smile sadly, but are content with being together, whether in frog or human form.
Louis comes running, bringing Ray with him, and they stay with him through his last moments. Back at the bayou, his funeral ceremony is carried out, with the firefly lifted by his relatives, in a leaf, and sent floating on the river. As he disappears into the distance, a new star appears, right next to the Evening Star.
Naveen and Tiana get married by Mama Odie, and as they kiss they both transform into humans. Surprised, they realise that by getting married, Tiana was now a princess, and by Naveen kissing her they were both changed back. They then get formally married as humans, to the delight of Eudora, and Naveen's parents. As Tiana throws the bouquet, it's caught by Charlotte
At Finner Bros. Realty, Tiana pushes over tins of her hard-earned money, and the brothers are encouraged by a growl from Louis to hand over the key to the restaurant. Tia and Naveen then get to work, and begin to redecorate and clean up the property, until it is beautifully furnished and Louis is shown to be playing the trumpet with a band, on the stage. The restaurant is full, and Charlotte, 'Big Daddy' La Bouffe, Naveen's parents and Eudora are all seated. Charlotte then dances with Naveen's younger brother, who's only six and a half but Charlotte says that she's waited this long. Tiana and Naveen then dance and kiss on the roof of the restaurant.