Review: ‘Godmothered’ has its heart in the right place

If there’s one thing we need in 2020, it’s movies with a good heart. Godmothered is one of those movies even if it takes the safest route to get there.

Jillian Bell stars as Eleanor, a fairy godmother living The Motherland (side note: this name seems like a bad choice), where all the fairy godmothers live. They train every day to strive for their assignments to live happily ever after, with a specific process to get there. None of them has ventured into the world in years, and they are now due to be shut down unless someone can stir up some more belief. Elenor finds a letter from a young girl named Mackenzie and set out to make her wishes come true, only to find Mackenzie is a grown woman with children of her own.

You have definitely seen this story before. Godmothered is stitched together from pieces of films that came before it, most notably Enchanted and Elf (with a dash of Frozen for good measure). Eleanor isn’t the best at what she does, but she does try hard, and Isla Fisher’s Mackenzie needs her heart opened up to belief and Christmas spirit after a personal tragedy.

The plot is a little predictable, but Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher are both adorable, charming, and funny and that goes a long way. Between jokes about magic gone wrong and wishes misconstrued (and carriages as the best form of transport) they have real chemistry that carries most of their scenes.

Jane Curtin and June Squibb put in fine supporting performances. Curtin is a little underused and Squibb’s uncouth, fast-talking truth-telling schtick wears a little thin, but they’re both so iconic it’s easy to let slide.

Good thing, too, since the story progresses at a breakneck pace, never taking very long to stop and let the characters breathe. There are some awkward cuts and strange camera work choices that distracted me from what was going on at more than one point.

Where the film really shines is in the last 20 minutes or so when everything comes together, and the film reminds us that happily ever after can mean lots of different things, and in 2020 that’s a message we need, maybe more than ever thanks to the goings-on in the real world.

I am definitely not the target audience for Godmothered but I still think it’s a movie worth giving a shot, especially if you have kids to watch it with. There are positive messages and fun magical sequences, and even some awesome representation on the screen if you pay attention to the final scenes. It may not be as good as the films that came before it, but its heart is in the right place, and that is worth a lot these days.

Godmothered will premiere on Disney+ on Friday, December 4th


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