Review: Godmothered

Score:  B-

Director:  Sharon Maguire

Cast:  Jillian Bell, Isla Fisher, Santiago Cabrera, Mary Elizabeth Ellis

Running Time:  110 Minutes

Rated:  PG

"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 CinderellaEnchanted, 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+


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.