A simple tale of a child wish this is not. This film is a story of Anabel and her love for her father, Oliver. She wants nothing for herself other than that her father gets the role that he has always wanted so that they can stay in New York City. Her father would like nothing better than to do that both for himself and his kids. So, in between auditions for operatic roles he spends his time as a carriage driver in Central Park. The only thing, at least in this film, getting in his way is a inept and bumbling fairy godmother, named Murry?
Murry (Martin Short) wants to be a fairy godmother. The only thing is that Murry is a guy and is constantly getting things wrong. He is going to be performing his first wish, that is if he can keep all his notes and cheat sheets in place. His first client is Anabel (Mara Wilson), a child that is desperately trying to get money for her father Oliver (Robert Pastorelli) as well as encouraging him as he tries to get a singing role at a nearby theater. She also knows that her father has a romantic interest in his agent, Jeri (Deborah Odell) and would like to see him happy. Murry is also desperate to get this right so that he can keep his want that he practically had to cheat to get. With this in mind he tells Anabel to keep her wish simple. That is where it all starts to go wrong.
On the other side of town, all the fairy godmothers are attending an annual meeting of the North American Godmothers Association, or NAFGA. It is here that another subplot starts taking place as the previous owner of Murry’s wand, Claudia (Kathleen Turner), has went to steal all the wands that have been checked in. She is now a mistress of the evil arcane arts, a witch, and wants her wand back so that she can be master of both the good and the bad. The only problem is that the wand she wants is not even there. It is just about this time that Murry realizes the date and dashes off to go attend. In his haste he forgets his wand in Anabel’s bedroom.
Helping Claudia is a dog made human, Boots (Amanda Plummer) who is only helping so that she too can become a witch. Claudia promised her and it seems the only reason that Boots was made human was so that Claudia could have some human companionship. Boots is a character in herself as she runs around doing dog like things from wearing a collar to scratching at her head like a dog would. In all she is a rather cute pup who winds up helping out in the end, even with Murry bungling just about every spell that he casts.
As to the wand that was left behind, Anabel takes it to school where it is broken. She tries to fix it during craft class and is berated by her teacher for it. Not wanting to give it up she runs away and hides which is where Murry finds her. With broken wand in hand he tries to get things right but just can’t seem to. He creates a 50 foot rabbi, turns a horse into a mouse, a man into bronze and a carriage into a pumpkin. Not knowing how to get things right he finally goes to NAFGA to get help from Hortense (Ruby Dee). That is when he finds out what Claudia has done and that he has to some how fix it and his messed up spells before the stroke of midnight.
This really is a fun and cute film for the whole family, not just the kids. We see just how confusing something simple can become and what it takes to set things right. If you put your mind to it and don’t give up you will always find a way to get through, no matter how long it might take. Even if your fairy godmother is a confused bumbling idiot like Murry where there never is anything as a Simple Wish.
I give this film a Musing review of