Synonymous with the phrase "coming to Disney+" is the idea that the film will be family-friendly. With few exceptions for new films, it also has been synonymous with mediocrity. "Godmothered" is no different, a film that just barely gets a passing grade despite the often-clever spin it gives to traditional "fairy-tale" expectations.
Fairy-Godmothers live in a magical far-away place called "The Motherland," where they are taught Godmothering basics. Headmother Moira (Jane Curtin) has been preaching the same core lessons for generations, ensuring that her aging army of guardian angels know exactly how they are able to help their subjects (princesses and the like) achieve the ultimate fairy-tale goal: Happily Ever After.
A young up-and-coming fairy-Godmother, Eleanor (Jillian Bell), sets out to prove her worth, and answers the call of a little girl named Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) who had requested help. When Eleanor magically transports herself into the real world, she discovers that Mackenzie is now a grown woman with kids and problems of her own...apparently her call for help years earlier was ignored altogether.
With PG-rated charm, most of the humor that derives from "Godmothered" deals either with Eleanor as a mystical fish-out-of-water (she's confused and terrified when a passerby communicates with an unseen "Alexa") or with the audience's expectations. As nearly every girl has been sold from childhood into adulthood (and sometimes beyond), they are to find their Prince Charming and live "Happily Ever After." "Godmothered" works in updating this slogan to "Just Live Happily," and also bunking the concept that all women must be "saved" by men. It's a much-needed face-lift for fairy-tales, and one that should play well with a younger generation of girls who watch "Godmothered" with their own mothers, or grandmothers, who are now used to being empowered and creating one's own happiness.
But for every joke or situation that works, there are two that don't. JIllian Bell is endearing and likable enough that most adults won't find her character too grating, but portions of the film do seriously drag. The movie has some clever ideas but they all feel watered-down in that special way that only the Disney logo can manage to do.
"Godmothered" is passable, but just barely. It's far from a classic, but judging by other straight-to-Disney+ films as of late (I'm looking at you "Artemis Fowl"), it's going to be a crowd-pleaser...sandwiched right in the zone in-between magical and mediocre.
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy.
Starring: Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell, Santiago Cabrera, June Squibb, Jane Curtin, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Utkarsh Ambudkar.
Directed by Sharon Maguire ("Bridget Jones's Baby," "Bridget Jones's Diary").
"Godmothered" is available on Disney+ on Friday, December 4th, 2020.
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