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So imagine if Mary Poppins and Buddy from Elf got together and watched Cinderella and The Sound of Music over some really strong eggnog and decided to write – oops, this is my floor!
And there you have the elevator pitch for Godmothered , a harmless bit of Disney holiday fluff that announces its intentions in the opening scene, and follows through to the big closing number.
Directed by Sharon Maguire ( Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones’s Baby ), Godmothered stars Jillian Bell ( Rough Night ) as Eleanor, an enthusiastic fairy-godmother-in-training who can’t accept that the whole program is on the verge of being shut down.
When she finds an unanswered letter from Mackenzie, a little girl looking for happily-ever-after, she hightails it to Boston, where she discovers she’s too late – said girl has grown into Isla Fisher, found love, lost it again, and now works as a cynical journalist for the local TV news.
The screenplay won’t win any awards, but it’s fun to watch these fine comic actors bounce off one another. Eleanor, like Will Ferrell’s character in Elf , is full of G-rated curses – “son of a butterscotch!” – and has a habit of taking everything at face value. I found myself giggling helplessly when she’s told to try a fish-market buffet and goes overboard. “Who eats that much seafood?” Mackenzie barks at her. The answer comes back just as forcefully: “Sharks!”
Santiago Cabrera plays Mackenzie’s hunky, aw-shucks colleague Hugh (ahem) Prince, in a role that would have gone to Hugh Grant 25 years ago. And Mackenzie has two kids: the young precocious one and the older one (Jillian Shea Spaeder) who wants to perform in the school concert but has a history of stage fright.
Can Eleanor’s magic wand, coupled with her Ron Wesley level of magical proficiency, help Mackenzie and her brood find happiness? Will someone declare: “I didn’t believe in you because I forgot how to believe in myself”? Will there be, in place of magical mice, a semi-tame raccoon specializing in additional comic shenanigans?
If you’re honestly unaware of the answers to those questions, give Godmothered a stream. It has some surprises for you.
Godmothered is available Dec. 4 on Disney+
2.5 stars out of 5
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020