Treating the same waters as Shrek, HNA tries to subvert fairy tale motives, but whether either consciously or not, ends to be exactly the same kind of story it mocks. The hero Rick and (Cindere)Ella are both the best looking characters, smarter than mostly anyone else. They are hardly the underdogs you expect them to be, like Shrek was. Worst, they aren’t exactly likeable.
Rick is mopey and acts all high and mighty all the time, lacking empathy and basic kindness. (Cinder)ella herself is just bland. Her evil grandmother together with the good wizard’s two henchmen have more charm than the “heroes” themselves. If they had made the prince at least a believable rival for Rick, but he’s painted as a dullard who never really had a chance.
The plot suffers from HNA being a kids movie. When the evil guys have taken over, they can’t really act evil (eat children, kill all the goody guys), the best thing they are allowed to do is evict everyone else from the castle and laugh manically. This doesn’t mean HNA is a complete disaster, but the movie lacks the ingredients to rise above mediocrity.