‘Godmothered’ may not be magic, but it is fun

Sunday, December 6, 2020 - 10:58pm

NOSELL

Disney +

Remember that incredibly popular 2007 Disney movie “Enchanted”? Where Amy Adams’s (“Arrival”) character crosses over from the magical, animated world of Andalasia into New York and has to learn all about what living in the real world is like? That’s basically same plot as the new Disney+ release “Godmothered.” 

“Godmothered” stars Jillian Bell (“22 Jump Street”) as the fairy godmother-in-training Eleanor and Isla Fisher (“Now You See Me”) as Mackenzie, the woman who needs a happily ever after. When she finds out that the magical world of Motherland where all the fairy godmothers are taught is in danger of being turned into a world for tooth fairies (yes, this is the real plot), Eleanor decides that she needs to do whatever it takes to save fairy godmother-ing. She sets out to give ten-year old Mackenzie Walsh (Isla Fischer, “Nocturnal Animals”) the happily-ever-after she asked for. Only she learns that she’s 30 years too late, and Mackenzie is now a single mom to two daughters, all of whom are living sad lives. Through a series of failed shenanigans, Eleanor tries to make Mackenzie’s life perfect. 

The movie isn’t bad. It’s actually very sweet, especially because it focuses more on familial love than romantic love. Sure, there is a little bit of romance when Eleanor tries to set Mackenzie up with a coworker named Hugh Prince (Santiago Cabrera, “Big Little Lies”), who she mistakes for a real prince. But at its heart, the movie is about Mackenzie and her daughters learning to love each other again after losing Mackenzie’s husband in a car accident three years prior. 

On top of that, it features some amazing female relationships, in which women build each other up and learn from one another. Eleanor’s character is charmingly naive and fun, and in scenes with Mackenzie, the audience gets a glimpse of a truly wholesome friendship, despite the ups and downs that it takes them to get there.

It also plays on some traditional Disney tropes and turns them around for the audience’s amusement. For instance, in a scene highly reminiscent of “Enchanted”’s “How Does She Know?” song sequence, Eleanor starts to sing “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” in the middle of an open square in an effort to convince Mackenzie’s daughter Jane (Jillian Shea Spaeder, “Walk the Prank”) to face her fear of performing. However, unlike Amy Adams, Eleanor sings terribly and gets snowballs thrown at her. But in true Disney fashion, her high spirits and enthusiastic demeanor get everyone around her singing along, no matter how terrible they may sound. 

“Godmothered” is perfectly suited for Disney+ because it ticks all the boxes for a traditional Disney movie without having the budget or quality of a wide release film. It’s similar to some of the older Disney Channel Original Movies, but it explores some slightly more adult themes such as drinking and family strife. 

With its holiday vibe and cozy family feel, “Godmothered” is a movie that many kids, and maybe some adults, will enjoy watching in the coming wintry weeks. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, nor will it go down in history as one of Disney’s greatest films of all time, but it is entertaining and enjoyable for what it is.

Daily Arts Writer Sabriya Imami can be reached at simami@umich.edu

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