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Godmothered – Movie Review

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Godmothered – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Walt Disney Studios

There’s a charm to movies about good-hearted people who try to brighten up the lives of those they encounter, especially if magic is involved. Godmothered is one such film and while the script stays largely run-of-the-mill and there are a few unnecessary elements, it’s a harmless watch during the holidays. It mostly offers an opportunity for Jillian Bell to play a role different from the sorts of characters she is accustomed to. While not all of the jokes hit and the fairy godmother world could have been explored better, the film’s heart is in the right place.

As expected, much of the humour comes from Jillian Bell’s fairy godmother-in-training Eleanor being a fish out of water in Boston. Bell is often cast as deadpan, cynical types, so it’s refreshing to see her be given the chance to portray someone a lot more chipper and happy. Bell brings the needed energy and peppiness to Eleanor, with director Sharon Maguire bringing out some untapped potential here. Isla Fisher’s Mackenzie is merely the straight woman who has to react to the magical goings-on caused by Eleanor’s presence. She is given the usual dynamic with her children, but the addition of her friendly sister is a nice element.

The story is fairly routine for the most part and the sentimental parts don’t hit quite as much as they should. The film does attempt some satire when showing Mackenzie’s job at a local news station desperate for ratings, although this is very soft material. The biggest laughs mainly come from Eleanor getting accustomed to modern technology and society. Godmothered doesn’t rewrite the rulebook when it comes to these “fantasy character ends up in our world” stories, but it never loses sight of the good-natured humour and sweetness it’s throwing at us. It’s also easy to be charmed by the presence of the pig and raccoon helpers conjured up by Eleanor.

The film does have a tendency of explaining too much to the audience. June Squibb provides a narration, telling us information that is already made clear by the on-screen images and dialogue. Fairy godmother iconography is already well known, especially if one has seen their fair share of Disney movies, and this film doesn’t depart too heavily from other portrayals. So the extra exposition seems especially superfluous. Maguire does do a lovely job of depicting the magical kingdom of the fairy godmothers and the film is more intent on paying homage to fairy tales rather than mocking them, which is refreshing. There is even a beautiful hand-drawn animated sequence courtesy of British animation house Studio AKA.

Godmothered doesn’t stray too far off the beaten path when it comes to these sorts of stories and the jokes could have been a little stronger, but there is enough charm to provide some nice distraction during the Christmas season. The best parts of Godmothered come from seeing Jillian Bell play someone with a good heart, although the film is also open about her own flaws. One just wishes the film didn’t hold the audience’s hand as much and the familiar story could have been spiced up a bit more. Godmothered is ultimately the very definition of “fine enough.”

Stefan Ellison