Godmothered: Disney Brings Fairy Tale Magic

Jillian Bell as Eleanor in GODMOTHERED, exclusively on Disney+.

Disney brings the fairy tale magic in Godmothered while managing to provide an update for the whole concept in the 21st century.

The thing that they say about opposites attract certainly holds true in this film.  Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher could not be more different in this film.  And yet, the two are made for each other in a cinematic way.  I love what they bring to these characters so much that I watched the film twice.  In fairness, I had some technical difficulties in watching the first time on the press screener platform.  What I can say for certain is that the second viewing sealed the deal.  Make no mistake that this is a magical film.  Without any further adieu, let’s get underway.

It’s the month of December so it ought to come at no surprise that this film is set during the December holiday season.  In one corner, we have Eleanor (Jillian Bell).  She is a fairy godmother-in-training.  The Motherland is nearing its collapse if nothing happens soon.  Moira (Jane Curtin) runs the place and wrote the rules.  Moira teaches everything we know from films such as Cinderella.  The world as we know it in the 21st century does not work that way.  For The Motherland to survive, they are going to require some necessary changes because nobody wants to be a Tooth Fairy.  Is Moira ready for her work to change?  You’ll just have to wait and see.

Eleanor decides to take things upon herself.  All she wants to do is become a fairy godmother.  Naturally, she decides to look for an assignment.  She hopes that this will show others that their occupation is still needed.  It isn’t so simple as Eleanor soon learns.  The 10-year old girl who wrote that letter?  Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) is now a 40-year-old single mother of Jane (Jillian Shea Spaeder) and Mia (Willa Skye).  When she isn’t home, she is producing news stories for a Boston news station.  Her sister, Paula (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), babysits the kids while she is at work.  It’s not quite the happy ending, is it?  Moreover, Mackenzie has been struggling since her husband died a few years earlier.  You could argue that Eleanor came at just the right time.

Isla Fischer and Willa Skye in Godmothered
Isla Fisher as Mackenzie and Willa Skye as Mia in GODMOTHERED, exclusively on Disney+.

Will Mackenzie ever find her Happily Ever After?  Or is the idea of Happily Ever After a fairy tale construct that needs to change in the 21st century?  That’s the beauty of this film–we get to define our Happily Ever After.  It doesn’t need to be how Disney defined it.  To the transgender child that might be reading this, you can have your Happily Ever After!  Eleanor is going to do whatever it takes–whether Mackenzie likes it or not.  Regardless, this genre needed a cinematic update especially after Once Upon A Time finished its run on ABC.  Okay, so the film doesn’t quite take what you know and really change things but it does the next best thing.  The film finds a way to play with the classic tropes like woodland creatures.  I am not lying when I say that Gary the raccoon steals the show.

If you don’t know Sharon Maguire’s name, she’s the director behind the hit film that is Bridget Jones’s Diary.  She also directed the 2016 sequel, Bridget Jones’s Baby.  With Maguire at the helm, you know the film is going to be in good hands.  Not only this but you can also trust her with directing comedy.  Trust me when I say that this film is in good hands.

I love how they really change up the concept.  It’s almost like Elf in a way.  Where Elf sees Buddy being a fish out of water, Godmothered sees Eleanor being the fish out of water.  Boston is like a whole new world if you know what I mean!  The decision to cast Jillian Bell in this film is magical perfection.  Sundance favorite Brittany Runs A Marathon was already proof that she could lead a film.

In the other corner, we have Isla Fisher, who stole the show in Wedding Crashers so many years ago.  Fisher brings a lot of physical comedy to the film.  She also brings a lot of heart to a character that just needs to learn how to live again.  Even though it’s a comedy, you can see some resemblances in her character of holiday classics past.

Godmothered has all the makings of a new holiday/fairy tale classic.

DIRECTOR:  Sharon Maguire
SCREENWRITERS:  Kari Granlund, Melissa Stack
FEATURING:  Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell, Santiago Cabrera, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Jane Curtin, June Squibb, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Willa Skye, Artemis Pebdani, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Stephnie Weir

Disney+ launches Godmothered on December 4, 2020. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.