Godmothered is a family-fantasy film. It was directed by Sharon Maguire and produced by Walt Disney Pictures and The Montecito Picture Company, with a screenplay by Kari Granlund and Melissa Stack, and Justin Springer, Ivan Reitman, Jessica Virtue, and Alisson Erlikman acting as producers. It was released on December 4, 2020 on Disney+.
In a magical place called the Motherland, fairy godmothers train so that they can help people's wishes come true. Among them is the youngest, and only fairy who is not elderly, Eleanor Fay Bloomingbottom who gleefully commits to the craft despite not being very good at it. The godmothers stay to a "formula" that many have grown bored with (e.g. true love, castle, etc.). Eleanor learns from another godmother that the school is to be shut down, as nobody makes wishes anymore, and that they will have to learn to be tooth fairies instead. Determined, Eleanor checks the assignment room and discovers a letter from a 10-year-old girl named Mackenzie Walsh and decides to help her. She is aided by the oldest student, Agnes, who warns her that if she is found out, the school will shut down and, worse, her powers will be stripped.
Eleanor ends up in the real world where a friendly trucker takes her to Boston, Massachusetts where to her shock, Mackenzie is a miserable 40-year-old, single mom who works at a failing television station that reports on puff pieces. She manages to convince her that she is a fairy godmother by displaying her magic and Mackenzie is forced to take her home to her two children Mia and Jane and her sister Paula who helps with looking after the kids. Mackenzie has trouble raising her children as Jane has an emotional anxiety when it comes to singing, which she needs to do for her high school. Eleanor is forced to sleep in the basement and comes to believe, based on a comment Mackenzie made, that her husband ran away.
Eleanor begins affecting the family's lives when she starts tagging along with Mackenzie to work and meets her coworkers Duff and Hugh Prince, the latter of whom has feelings for Mackenzie, much to Eleanor's delight. Eleanor accidentally creates a colorful explosion in the sky, creates a citywide blackout and becomes a viral sensation after a sled boarding accident, the latter of which gives the news station higher ratings. She learns from Mia that Mackenzie's husband died and realizes that it is connected to Jane's anxiety and helps her by having her sing "My Favorite Things" in public. Meanwhile, Mackenzie's newfound optimism convinces her to get a makeover and begins hanging out with Hugh more; himself a divorced father with a son.
Agnes tells Eleanor that she needs to have Mackenzie's true love be found by midnight the next night, or she will lose her powers. She convinces Mackenzie to attend a party being thrown by their unscrupulous boss Grant and tries to use her powers to make her fall in love with Hugh. This fails and Mackenzie berates her for trying to impede on her life. Their argument is heard by everyone at the party with Grant believing that all the recent stories were planned. Mackenzie tells Eleanor to leave, though Paula finds her fairy godmother book and sets out to look for her. To Mackenzie's surprise, Grant wants Eleanor back to exploit her. When Mackenzie refuses, Grant fires her and Hugh reveals that he quits after being offered another job.
Mackenzie learns that Jane still has anxiety, as she needs to sing for the high school at the Christmas festival that night, and they go and find Paula trying to help Eleanor create a pumpkin carriage. They tell her that they need her, and she instead creates a watermelon carriage that gets them to the show on time. Jane performs using her father's guitar to a stunned audience. Moira, the headmistress, arrives to take Eleanor away; calling her a failure. However, Eleanor informs her that she realizes that the formula is dated and that everyone has their own idea of true love. After encouragement from the Walshes and the audience, Moira concedes that Eleanor was a success and the two of them head back with the assignment completed.
In the epilogue, rendered in traditional animation, Eleanor has become a teacher in Motherland and is seen teaching new children godmothers the new way.
- Jillian Bell as Eleanor Fay Bloomingbottom
- Isla Fisher as Mackenzie Walsh
- Erica Parks as Young Mackenzie
- Isabelle McNamara as Young Mackenzie Voice
- Jane Curtin as Moira, the Headmistress of the Motherland
- Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Paula Walsh, Mackenie's sister
- Jillian Shea Spaeder as Jane Walsh, Mackenzie's older daughter
- Willa Skye as Mia Walsh, Mackenzie's younger daughter
- Santiago Cabrera as Hugh Prince, Mackenzie's love interest
- Artemis Pebdani as Duff
- Utkarsh Ambudkar as Grant
- Stephnie Weir as Barb
- June Squibb as Agnes
The film was first announced to be in development for Disney+ in September 8, 2019, under the tentative title Godmothered, with Bridget Jones franchise's director Sharon Maguire being in talks to direct the project. On September 22, Maguire was confirmed to have joined as director, while Lady and the Tramp co-screenwriter Kari Granlund was revealed to be writing the film with Melissa Stack, and Dumbo producer Justin Springer was revealed to be producing the film. Though in December 8, 2019, it was announced that the film's official title would be Frills, subsequent reports referred to the film as Godmothered. In January 9, 2020, it was reported that Jillian Bell and Isla Fischer would star in the film, while Ivan Reitman revealed to be executive-producing the film.
Filming for Godmothered began in Boston on January 20, 2020, and ended in March 2020. On January 30, 2020, Tom Pollock, Amie Karp and Diane L. Sabatini were revealed to be co-executive-producing the film, while Jane Curtin, Jillian Shea Spaede, Willa Skye, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Santiago Cabrera, Artemis Pebdani, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Stephnie Weir, June Squibb, and Carlease Burke joined the cast.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 68% based on 65 critic reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "More bippity boppity than boo, Godmothered tweaks fairytale conventions with just enough self-aware humor to overcome a disappointing deficit of genuine magic." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
- The reason the Motherland was not doing well was because Moira strictly believed fairytale endings like Cinderella, despite the fact the real world doesn't play by those rules anymore. Adding onto it was that the traditional dress, Prince and Castle is no longer wanted by girls; Mackenzie demonstrates great annoyance at these things, due to being a practical-minded adult.
- This movie reunites Jillian Bell and Utkarsh Ambudkar who both previously starred in Britany Runs a Marathon together.
- While the movie takes place during Christmas time, it began filming almost a whole month after that holiday.
- This film and Magic Camp were slated to feature Rosalind Chao. However, she fails to make an appearance in either movie, possibly after having her role cut.
- The movie's epilogue is rendered in traditional animation, a nod to the classic Disney films of yesteryear, due to COVID shutting down the live action production of the movie. An alternate opening was fully animated, but ultimately cut from the final film.
- This was one of Ivan Reitman's final films before his death in 2022.
- The soundtrack was released on December 4, 2020 to coincide with the film.
Easter eggs and allusions
- The film starts with a book about Fairy Godmothers opening, an homage to Disney films, such as Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio.
- During her morning announcement, Agnes tells the other Fairy Godmothers to "break the glass slippers".
- The steps in the Fairy Godmother's formula is based on how Fairy Godmother helped Cinderella in the latter's titular film.
- Throughout the film, Eleanor tries to create a carriage out of a pumpkin, a nod to Cinderella's pumpkin carriage.
- At one point, Eleanor mistakes her reflection for someone else, just like Tigger.
- When Mackenzie asks Eleanor if she could create a home for herself with the snow, she responds saying, "Ice castle construction?! I wish!".
- During a montage, Mackenzie's family and Eleanor are seen watching The Sound of Music. The film's rights were acquired by Disney as part of its acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
- Upon seeing Hugh wearing a costume for a party, Mackenzie asks why he's dressed like Prince Charming.
- During a party, Eleanor tries to force Mackenzie and Hugh to fall in love by making them dance together to romantic music, a clear spoof to Disney films, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Frog.
- ‘Bridget Jones’ Director Sharon Maguire Reportedly In Talks To Direct Fairy Godmother Film For Disney+
- Jillian Bell, Isla Fisher to Star in Disney+ Comedy 'Godmothered' (Exclusive)
- EXCLUSIVE: New Details for ‘Godmothered’ Film Coming to Disney+
- EXCLUSIVE: Character Breakdowns and New Details on The Fairy Godmother Film ‘Frills’ Coming to Disney+
- Production Has Begun On New Disney+ Movie “Godmothered”
- Director Sharon Maguire Talks 'Godmothered' and Another 'Bridget Jones' Sequel (Exclusive)
- STUDIO AKA: Godmothered