Once in a blue moon, a super sugary sweet movie comes along from Disney that screams the Mouse House.
In 2007, that movie was Enchanted with Amy Adams.
This year, it’s Godmothered with Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher, debuting on Disney+ for the whole world to bask in its joy.
Bell stars as Eleanor, who seems to be the only Fairy Godmother left in her community who believes they shouldn’t be demoted to the Tooth Fairy.
She still dresses in beautiful pink and carries her wand like an Englishman carrying tea. Eleanor has faith. Yet Moira (Jane Curtin) sees the writing on the wall.
The world in 2020 doesn’t need Godmothers, and her training facility is simply wasting its time and must close soon.
Refusing to believe that, Eleanor finds a Godmother wish from Mackenzie (Fisher) in a dusty old library and takes it upon herself to prove that these magical, wish-granting, life-enhancing, love-attracting beings deserve another shot at this world.
Cue Eleanor landing in Boston near Mackenzie, who is not a 10-year-old girl anymore. She’s a widowed mother of two who thanklessly works at a local television station as a producer.
When her Fairy Godmother appears, as anyone in 2020 would, she thinks this blonde uber-upbeat individual is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
When Mackenzie can’t shake this enchantingly adorable misfit, and with a little magic convincing, she takes her into her home.
But this subject doesn’t feel like she needs a prince and a happily ever after. She’s done that, and it doesn’t exist twice.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, from a story by Kari Granlund and a screenplay from Melissa K. Stack and Granlund, Godmothered hits its tone as sharply as Itzhak Perlman can hit the high notes on his violin.
In many ways, it recalls Enchanted, what with its fish-out-of-water scenario.
But Maguire’s film takes this magic in a world where doom and gloom boom and illustrates that believing in the otherworldly, the possibilities of dreams being achieved, and love being legitimately found exponentially extend its tender touch.
The tone is pitch-perfect and will leave its glittery glow on you long after you finish watching.
Isn’t that what a good light-hearted holiday film should achieve? Oh, yeah, and Godmothered takes place at Christmas!
Bell has long time been a gem waiting for her moment in the sun. She stole scenes from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street, and just last year, the actress delivered an Oscar-buzzing turn in the true tale Brittany Runs a Marathon.
In Godmothered, she embodies the cinematic qualities of the titular role in every sense of the word.
Her awe and wonder at the real world, despite its often grim reality, is mesmerizing. One even could suggest that her existence sprinkled a little fairy dust all over this landscape -- beyond Mackenzie, her sister Paula (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), and her two daughters, Jane (Jillian Shea Spaeder), and little Mia (Willa Skye).
There’s an unspeakable quality to Bell with every role she takes. She is a chameleon. It’s incredible to think that the actress who is a Godmother in Godmothered is the same thespian who inhabited Scarlett Johansson’s clingy friend Alice in Rough Night and Dixie on HBO’s Eastbound and Down.
Eleanor went down to Earth without permission from the head Godmother, Moira. Despite her roommate Agnes (June Squibb) covering for her, it doesn't take long to notice the brightest spot in Godmother school is missing!
We know that the two worlds will collide, but how, why, and what shape it will be left in is always a mystery, right up until the end.
Fisher has made a career of playing a comedic character that scores manic laughs almost on demand (Wedding Crashers). With Godmothered, the Aussie actress provides humanity to her character that was not put into the DNA of her past roles.
Between her job demands and being a single mom to two firmly independent young girls, someone is worn thin.
The better half of Sacha Baron Cohen is not only a comedic gem, playing both the straight and silly parts -- such as last year’s Beach Bum with Matthew McConaughey -- but she also can don a hybrid with dramatic soul in films such as Now You See Me and blow us away in that way.
When the Godmother finds Mackenzie, her prince, literally named Hugh Prince (Santiago Cabrera, Big Little Lies), she’s convinced that this is her charge’s Knight on a White Horse.
Of course, this is 2020, and things don’t work like that. This particular plot angle is handled with a delicate touch -- often the source of humor in the most heartwarming manners.
Cabrera isn’t the most defined of characters, but in a film such as Godmothered, perhaps just a wee bit is enough. The actor is charming and plays the role of the matchmaker-ed cohort to Mackenzie quietly, yet purposely.
Of course, Curtin and Squibb are a delight. Those two could read the alphabet, and it would be entertaining.
Godmothered lands on the Disney streaming service as warm and fuzzy as a feel-good holiday hearth. Some tropes permeate the film utilized in many a fantasy-type flick, yet in Maguire’s, it feels fresh, spot-on, and just what the world needs.
Check out Godmothered on Disney+ on December 4.
Joel D. Amos is the Senior Editor of The Movie Mensch and writes film reviews for TV Fanatic. He has been an entertainment journalist for two decades now, focusing on penning reviews for film, television and streaming content of all kinds. He also has conducted hundreds of interviews with stars as varied as Harrison Ford to Elton John and Angelina Jolie. Joel is a founding member of the Hollywood Critics Association and in his free time, is all about his family.