Godmothered (2020) ☆☆☆(3/4): She comes a bit too late…

“Godmothered”, which was released on Disney+ in last December, is a lightweight fantasy movie which turns out to be a bit better than expected. While it is surely reminiscent of another Disney fantasy film “Enchanted” (2007) in many aspects, the movie cheerfully bounces from one funny comic moment to another, and it is also supported well by the presence and talent of its two very good comic actresses.

Jillian Bell, who previously drew my attention with her funny performance in “Brittany Runs a Marathon” (2019) and “Sword of Trust” (2019), plays Eleanor, a young and plucky student living in a fantasy world named Motherland. For many years, Eleanor and other students have studied under their teacher Moira (Jane Curtin), and she is eager to be a certified fairy godmother someday, but, alas, everyone else knows too well that their school is on the verge of being shut down along with Motherland as there has not been much demand of their magical service these days. While trying to keep going as much as possible, Moira is not so particularly enthusiastic about teaching her students, and most of her students do not expect much from her while cynically waiting for their upcoming occupational transition.

Nevertheless, Eleanor does not give up at all as heartily supported by her close friend Agnes (June Squibb). When it looks like she must do anything for saving her school and Motherland, Eleanor looks into an abandoned old archive containing lots of written requests for fairy godmother, and, what do you know, she eventually comes across a touching letter from a little girl living in Boston, Massachusetts. Fully convinced that helping that girl in question will help not only her but also Motherland, Eleanor promptly walks into a portal leading to our world, though she has not fully learned and mastered her magical power yet.

It goes without saying that Eleanor is quite disoriented and confused right from when she manages to arrive at a spot not so far from Boston. Her cheerful innocence, which is not that different from that of Amy Adams’ fairy tale heroine in “Enchanted”, surely baffles several people she happens to encounter on her way to that little girl in Boston, and Bell is effortless in her character’s many comic mistakes and misinterpretations. 

Anyway, Eleanor finally arrives at where she can find that little girl, but it turns out that she came a bit too late, because that little girl is now a single mother who has been busy with her work as well as raising her two kids alone. When she meets Eleanor for the first time, Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) initially thinks Eleanor is a sort of joke, but she subsequently comes to see that Eleanor is really a fairy godmother she requested many years ago, and she eventually takes Eleanor to her family residence as it is apparent that Eleanor will probably not survive even one night alone outside.   

Mackenzie wants Eleanor to stay low as much as possible in the basement, but Eleanor soon embarks on making the mood of house a little cheerier than before, and she also meets Eleanor’s two kids and older sister, who all welcome Eleanor after beholding her magical power. Thanks to her, their house becomes much more colorful than before, and they come to have a stray raccoon willing to be a bit of help in taking care of domestic matters.

Meanwhile, Eleanor accompanies Mackenzie while Mackenzie is working outside, and she instantly sees that there is some attraction between Mackenzie and one of her co-workers. She sincerely attempts to help generating more attraction between Mackenzie and that dude, but, of course, that only leads to a series of hilarious moments including the one involved with a video footage clip which later goes viral on the Internet.

The situation becomes a little more serious than before when Moira belatedly comes to learn of where Eleanor is and what she is doing now, but the screenplay by Kari Granlund and Melissa Stack continues to maintain its sweet and cheerful spirit as developing its main characters more along the story. While Mackenzie and her family come to reveal the personal sadness still around them, Eleanor later comes to reflect on what exactly she is attempting to do, and, around the expected climactic moment involved with one of Mackenzie’s kids, we accordingly get a nice moment of mutual lesson between our world and Eleanor’s fantasy world.

Now this is surely predictable to the core, but director Sharon Maguire did a competent job of presenting the story and characters with enough humor and sincerity, and it is entertaining to watch how Bell and her co-star deftly complement with each other. Isla Fisher, who has always been fun to watch since her uproarious supporting turn in “Wedding Crashers” (2005), dutifully sets the ground for Bell’s showier acting, and she and Bell are also supported well by a number of good performers including Jane Curtin, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Santiago Cabrera, Artemis Pebdani, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and June Squibb, who steals the show every time she appears on the screen.  

In conclusion, “Godmothered” is your average wholesome Disney product for family audiences, but it is charming and engaging enough to earn some good laughs at least. It may not be that refreshing, but it is still enjoyable thanks to the game efforts from Bell and Fisher, and I think you should give it a chance before this winter is over.

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