Are fairy godmothers obsolete? Ask anyone: Princes on steeds rarely come around anymore, and all our ball gowns just sit in the closet. But in “Godmothered,” an anodyne new comedy, even the most modern and jaded women find use for a fairy’s magic touch.
Now streaming on Disney+, the film recalls the studio’s once-upon-a-time hit, “Enchanted,” although here, the conceit loses much of its charm. The story follows an eager fairy godmother in training, Eleanor (Jillian Bell), who shirks her studies in the fantasy world of Motherland to pursue an assignment on Earth. Transporting herself into a wintry Boston, Eleanor locates her Cinderella: the wearied single mother Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) who works at a local news station.
Many of the movie’s jokes come from Eleanor’s clash with modernity. She marvels at cars, offers to dig a moat around Mackenzie’s home and confuses an iPad with an eye patch. The endless naïveté starts to grate halfway through, as does this zealous godmother’s fixation on her Bostonian princess finding true love.
The film’s idea is to re-examine and revise the fairy tale formula, and in some ways, it succeeds. The story sends up clichés like the animal sidekick — instead of a woodland creature, Eleanor recruits an inept raccoon — and makes the obvious case that living happily is a day to day struggle.
But for an updated princess story, “Godmothered,” directed by Sharon Maguire, is fairly conventional. Mackenzie’s love interest is a handsome white man with the surname Prince who, at one point, appears in colonial garb. And while beauty is found to come from within, the movie still shows Mackenzie’s growth by granting her the chance to live prettily ever after with a chic coat and a blowout. Is the film trapped in Disney orthodoxy? If the shoe fits.
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour and 50 minutes. Watch on Disney+.