‘Godmothered’ shows it’s more intent on making its audience laugh than impressing them with a magical story.
In order to save the motherland, a fairy godmother in training takes on an impossible assignment as she tries to fulfill a young girl’s wish to find true love that was made 30 years ago.
Despite this family-friendly films eagerness to prove itself as a little more self-aware than your average Disney family movie, it’s hard to not just shake the feeling that this is yet another clone of the classic “whimsical childlike girl thrown into complicated adult life” style of story seen through film and TV for the past several decades. There’s nothing necessarily wrong about seeing more of the same, so long as said piece of media is providing a new angle to the story or perhaps just telling the story well. The problem therein lies with the fact that ‘Godmothered’ isn’t really doing either of these things in a particularly strong way. There are moments where you can see the potential of what its humor is trying to do, whether it’s the blunt situational humor between Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher or the exaggeratory newscast team that are blatantly satirizing daily news – there’s an almost clear view of comedy that comes close to being laugh-out-loud but is held back by an array of factors. Then there’s the emotional aspect of this film, one of family and true love etc — again, it comes close, there’s a strong family bond in here but this film is missing a binding agent, a glue, something to sew it together like a ball dress that needs stitching.
As the movie progresses something becomes clear – Jillian Bell, while great in her comedic presence is missing something – she’s missing charm. Throughout the entirety of this film’s runtime I felt more convinced by June Squibb’s magical presence than I did Jillian Bells, and June is over 91 years old. The problem with playing the role of a magical being out of a fairytale in live-action is that it undoubtedly requires a magical on-screen presence. Let’s take for example Amy Adams role in Disney’s superior live-action fairytale ‘Enchanted’ (2007) – a fantastical performance of high-note singing, glowing charm, and hilariously candid peppiness by Adams – no such element besides the peppiness is felt or seen by Bell in ‘Godmothered’. Now, none of this detracts from the fact that Bell provides a perfectly serviceable role here with moments of appreciable comedic timing – furthermore, Isla Fisher stands as a great palette cleanser for her hyper intense personality and for good reason.
‘Godmothered’, on a visual level, has a slight magical charm to it with a very light colour palette and visual effect splendor. Unfortunately, the visual effects often feel cheap and there are times where the actors are looking in the wrong direction to where the focus of the visual effects should be – which can often be distracting.
The art direction is a more impressive attribute of filmmaking in this film – it’s usually this way in most Disney films. From the costume design and consistency to the makeup and hairstyling – it all works and completely fits the tone it is establishing. The film mostly takes place in New York which is a city that is far too often explored in movies so it doesn’t do anything interesting with its locations but the interior set designs are detailed and complimentary to the characters and story. The score in ‘Godmothered’ is your typical Disney score they have for their fairy movies and does not venture out to create something new. However the musical use of a music box tune was a great touch in certain scenes.
‘Godmothered’ is most certainly a warm Christmas orientated family film that I would recommend to a family if their kids are going through their princess phase, however, it’s just not the first one I’d recommend, it would be… lower on the list so to speak.