Simple Wish, A

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

Martin Short steals the show in this fantasy comedy as Murray, a comical, inept male fairy godmother. He's assigned to help Anabel (Mara Wilson), the young daughter of Oliver Greening (Robert Pastorelli), an aspiring actor in Manhattan. Murray soon finds himself fighting off the attacks of an evil, but attractive, godmother witch named Claudia (Kathleen Turner). Murray has plenty to learn about being a godmother and his wacky attempts at magical feats make for lots of laughs. Among other mishaps, he tries to change a man into a rabbit, but the man becomes a 70-foot Jewish rabbi instead. But he does help Anabel's father win a singing audition when he causes frogs to come out of the mouth of his toughest competitor. Although Claudia is a witch, much of her actions and dialogue are comical. The children who attended the advance screening of this fast moving comedy seemed to enjoy it thoroughly.

Anabel's father is a caring, loving man who tries to make up for the absence of Anabel's deceased mother. And when Murray grants Anabel just one wish, she wishes that her dad will win the singing audition. The show features many magical feats, both by Murray and Claudia, but most of them seem more akin to fantasy than to the occult. But some of these magical feats become rather intense, such as people being thrown around violently and being hit with magical shock rays. Claudia's magical powers are described as "witchcraft, but they are not condoned or glorified. However, in an attempt to save her father from extinction, Anabel and some friends hold hands and conjure up enough magical power within themselves to save her father. This concept of drawing on the power within stems from New Age philosophy. It has been used in other contemporary films such as The Princess and the Goblin, FernGully, The Secret Garden and Warriors of Virtue. Also, Anabel uses a few slang obscenities with sexual connotations. It's really unfortunate that this clever comedy portrays some New Age practices and off-color language in a favorable manner.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 3, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Twice - Slang word with sexual connotations

Profanity: Few (3) times - Exclamatory (Oh God, Good God, Lordy)

Violence: Many Times - Moderate (Runaway carriage destroys property, woman magically made flat, witch strikes people with magical shock rays, people thrown around violently, shooting threat, rough treatment, persons bitten on hand and leg)

Sex: None

Nudity: Near nudity-few times (low cut dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Woman passes out from sedative in apple

Other: Comical reference to urination

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Age 4 and older

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.