Godmothered Review

by Nick L’Barrow

Do you remember the live-action Disney films of the late 90s and early 2000s? George of the Jungle? Enchanted? The Princess Diaries? Jungle 2 Jungle? The story of a happy-go-lucky protagonist, getting taken out of their safe, innocent world and thrown into the chaos of a new place or city. Finding it hard to get along with their all-work/no-play relative or responsible adult who has been neglecting the things they really care about in their own lives for so long. Then in a big finale (usually involving a young child doing something really cute to bring a whole bunch of strangers together) the protagonist and the neglectful adult both manage to teach each other a lesson about how you can assimilate the best parts of their personality traits in order to live happily ever after. Well, Disney+’s Godmothered is exactly that… and unfortunately like all of the Disney films like this to come before it, Godmothered would probably have suited a release date 20 years ago.

Godmothered is the story of Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a fairy-Godmother in training who unfortunately for her has none of the skills or magic to be a fairy-Godmother. However, when the fairy-Godmother school, led by headmaster Moira (Jane Curtin) and teacher Agnes (June Squibb), comes under the threat of being closed down because no children want fairy-Godmothers anymore, Eleanor takes it upon herself to fulfill a dated wish from a young girl (now adult), Mackenzie (Isla Fisher).

This movie is at its core is the ultimate family movie. It knows the formula to a tee and sticks to it. Godmother’s primary aim is to entertain in the most heartfelt and goofy manner, and in that regard it succeeds exceptionally. From the cinematography, to the music and CGI, the movie undoubtedly has that classic, magical Disney film feeling, which is definitely suitable for the younger audiences and families that Godmother is targeting. It’s more so the predictability with its emotional beats that doesn’t always keep the intrigue or investment going throughout. 

The stakes and story arcs in Godmother aren’t entirely original and don’t leave much to the imagination. Each scene can be easily guessed how it’s going to end, and where it is going to go next. Even for a younger audience, the emotionality feels very surface level. That is until the ending, in which the stories overall message actually hits home quite well and has an honest sincerity to it – it just comes a little too late for it to have any impact on elevating the previous 90 minutes of movie.

The chemistry between Bell and Fisher is quite good, and they both seem to be having a blast making this movie together. And when the actors are having that much on screen, it radiates off-screen for the audiences enjoyment too. The majority of the comedy relies on Jillian Bell’s over-the-top and goofy performance as Eleanor. Her naivety and innocence juxtaposed against the more insane parts of humanity are the crux of most of the jokes, which swap between innuendos and physical humour. More often than not, a lot of these jokes can feel as outdated as the movies premise, opting for the easy punchline or quick cut to someone falling or tripping over to abruptly end of scene on an attempted laugh.

Godmother ends up just falling short of being overly enjoyable with a predictable plot and uneven humour. And even though it’s message feels incredibly honest (and relevant for modern times), it doesn’t hit strong enough to leave a lasting impression once the credits roll.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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