"Oh my Godmothers!"
Featuring a wealth of innocence and youthful excitement, Sharon Maguire's Godmothered is a unique take on an age-old classic, beautifully blending the likes of Cinderella, Enchanted, and Frozen into a story about hope, persistence, and love.
Jillian Bell stars as Eleanor, the Motherland's youngest trainee with absolutely zero real-life fairy experience who ventures out on her own to complete the last known fairy assignment. The only issue, that assignment is from decades ago, and the once young Mackenzie (a stunning Isla Fisher) is now a widowed, single mother of two.
Bell and Fisher's undeniable chemistry drives the film's comedy as the two ladies work excellently off one another. Their instinctive reactions appear authentic as they represent the film's two separate words, brought together by a whisper of magic in an attempt to save a profession and family.
Screenwriters Kari Granlund and Melissa Stack (the painfully under-appreciated The Other Woman) beautifully intertwine our two worlds as they utilize the fish out of water approach to stir up laughs while tackling critical social issues involving self-acceptance and worth. The balance is incredibly fragile, but the film successfully holds steady, giving viewers a complete and sound experience that encompasses the complexities, both big and small, that comprise one's life journey.
Though the film rests heavily on humor, there is one sub-story arc involving Mackenzie's daughter Jane (Jillian Shea Spaeder), a high school student who struggles with confidence and stage fright. Though it isn't her primary mission, Eleanor senses a need to comfort and support the budding adolescent as she struggles to cope with the loss of her father, a man who served as the foundation to her love of music.
This exchange takes place over several scenes, which serves as a turning point in the film. Though the humor remains intact, there is a noticeable shift as we dig below the surface and begin to understand our story's primary players better.
Even as Eleanor, standing in the middle of a busy walkway, clueless beyond words, belts out, painfully off pitch, a rendition of "My Favorite Things," you immediately realize the layered approach the film is taking towards comedy and sentimental motherhood. Meant more for its heartfelt approach than its evident humor, the scene's real focus rests on the young woman standing behind her, hands clenched tightly to her guitar.
As Eleanor begins to formulate a relationship with Mackenzie's kids, the story progresses to your typical, fundamental bonding between adults. Simple, surface layer events help to push the film together as Mackenzie miraculously lets her guard down and begins to open up to her long-delayed fairy godmother.
A decision to attend the company Christmas party proves a positive first step for Mackenzie. However, we immediately know that things will escalate when Eleanor comes through the door, dressed in her standard pink ballgown with ruffles out to the ethers. It's a comedic sight, no doubt, but it does highlight the simplicity of the film and its conflict.
Granted, the film, at its core, is made for younger viewers who require straightforward, uncomplicated storytelling. In that regard, Godmothered plays out as expected. But the film is nowhere near the level of its counterparts. Though the classics heavily influence it, this film rarely becomes more than traditional Disney Channel fair, a seemingly appropriate assessment given its new home.
*This film is streaming on Disney+