Director: Sharon Maguire
Definitely a "fun for the whole family" all-ages offering from Disney+, Godmothered (2020) has a semi-complicated set-up that melts into a fairly standard magical comedy, but which I think more or less works, even if it's not exactly ground-breaking.
Apparently Fairy Godmothers come from The Motherland, a mystical realm where fairies train for seemingly centuries before being sent out on assignment. But the trick is - no one has asked for help from a Fairy Godmother in centuries, and there's only really been one new fairy to sign up for the gig in the past few decades. And so - they're maybe going to shut it all down (the Motherland is run by Jane Curtain, who appears to be having fun).
Eleanor (Jillian Bell) is nowhere ready, but she goes to the "case room" and finds the last case in all the drawers - a 10 year old asking for a boy to notice her and breaks the rules - heading into the real world to go help the little girl, who, of course, is now a single mother of two kids.
Magical hijinks ensue, a very sweet but naive and wildly powerful Fairy Godmother in training creates magic in a very traditional Disney live action film sense, and it all feels like a very updated version of something you would have watched on a Wonderful World of Disney movie back in the day - but with modern effects. And, to the point of the film, with modern interpretations of the themes of those old fairytales - quite literally and necessarily as part of the plot.
There's some genuinely funny bits (Gary is a highlight), and I enjoyed it. Will I ever watch it again? I mean - I wouldn't *not* watch it. That's kind of the nice thing, frankly, about a service like Disney+ - it's not high risk to choose a movie like this as the cost of a rental, it's just a cost of time. There's a place for movies like this, that are sort of mid-budget films that would never make it to theaters in 2019 (or eventually in 2021), and play to an audience that is likely to already have Disney+.
Everyone in the cast has their comedy moments - including focal character Isla Fisher, who is mostly there as the world-weary straight man, but still works the world's worst parka with aplomb. Bell is a great choice for Eleanor - with an amazing ability to radiate joy, sorrow, excitement with a small change of her manner. But we also have Stephnie Weir (who is always great), Artemis Pebdani, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Santiago Cabrera and Utkarsh Ambudkar.
The two kid actors are also pretty solid. The older one is given more to do, of course, and has an arc not asked of the little one, but she handles it pretty darn well.
I think, frankly, this one is probably better for older kids - probably late elementary school and up. There's nothing scandalous in the film, but the more complicated themes drawn out (or at least more complicated than "find rich man, be married") will make sense to all ages but will maybe resonate a bit better this kids who have a bit more awareness of the world.
I saw here and there people talking about how it's a lesser Enchanted or other movies that bring fantasy characters into the real world - and that's done too much. And, okay - I can't speak to that. Didn't see those. But it's a sweet movie with some genuine laughs. So.