A Simple Wish

A Simple Wish (also known as The Fairy Godmother) is a 1997 children's-fantasy-comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie, and starring Martin Short, Mara Wilson, and Kathleen Turner. The film about a bumbling male fairy godmother named Murray (Short), who tries to help Annabel (Wilson) fulfill her wish that her father, a carriage driver, wins the leading role in a Broadway musical.

It was the last film from director Michael Ritchie before his death in 2001.[2]

A Simple Wish
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Ritchie
Produced bySid Sheinberg
Jon Sheinberg
Bill Sheinberg
Written byJeff Rothberg
Music byBruce Broughton
CinematographyRalf D. Bode
Edited byWilliam S. Scharf
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 11, 1997
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$28 million
Box office$8,345,056[1]


Oliver Greening is rejected from a coveted performance in a musical version of A Tale of Two Cities for simply not being a bankable performer. After Oliver's daughter Annabel attempts to get her brother Charlie to believe that the tooth fairy exists, Murray, a clumsy fairy godfather, appears after Charlie has gone to sleep. Annabel wants to wish for her father to get the role, but Murray suddenly remembers he is late for an important engagement and promises to return to grant her wish later.

Hortence (Ruby Dee), the head of all fairy godmothers, is holding the annual meeting of the North American Fairy Godmothers Association (NAFGA). Due to Hortence's rule, all the fairy godmothers must check in their wands before the meeting. Claudia, a former fairy godmother turned evil witch, has shown up at the meeting uninvited and intends to steal all the wands. She gives Hortence's receptionist, Rena (Teri Garr) a witch's apple that puts her to sleep, casts a spell on Hortence turning the head fairy paper-thin and binding her mouth with bricks, and locks all the fairy godmothers downstairs on her way to stealing the wands. Murray, however, arrives at the meeting late and never checks his wand, leaving it as the only wand Claudia doesn't have.

Annabel realizes that Murray has left his magic wand behind and decides to return it to him, but Charlie breaks it. Murray and Annabel disappear to Nebraska, by way of a misconstrued spell cast by him to get out quickly. After he tries and fails to turn a selfish motel owner they meet there into a rabbit (turning him instead into a giant rabbi), the two end up back in Central Park. Because of Annabel's disappearing in an unexplained way, the school closes early. Charlie finds them.

Annabel begs Murray to try to grant her wish now that they are close to her father, but due to yet another mishap by him, Oliver is turned into a statue. To fix the problem, the three of them go to NAFGA and ask for the help of Hortence, who is still under the effects of Claudia's spell. While Murray, Charlie and Rena (who has awoken from Claudia's sleeping spell) fix Murray's wand, Hortence tells Annabel of Claudia's plot and explains that the awry spell must be lifted before midnight, or Oliver will be doomed to remain a statue forever. Claudia, meanwhile, has been looking through the wands, searching for hers. After going through, she realizes it is missing and now belongs to Murray, and she is determined to obtain it.

Annabel and Murray head to the theater and see Tony Sable, the selfish and conceited actor who is auditioning for Oliver's part. Knowing this could ruin her father's chance of being in the show, she asks Murray to sabotage the audition any way he can. First he tries to make it rain on the stage but it is dismissed as a simple technical problem and the audition continues. Then she asks him to give Sable a frog in his throat to impair his singing. He takes this wish too literally, and frogs start hopping out of Sable's mouth, shocking the cast and crew. Annabel and Murray celebrate, but Sable gets the part since Oliver has not shown up. Boots, Claudias terrier turned lackey who has been looking for Murray, finds them. Murray mentions the story of Brer Rabbit to Annabel and together they beg her not to take them to Claudia's lair so that she will.

Claudia catches them, and demands them to tell her where her wand is. When Murray tries to persuade Annabel not to tell her, as punishment, Claudia changes her and Murray into ballerinas and makes them dance uncontrollably until Annabel agrees to tell her. However, Annabel is able to keep Claudia distracted until Charlie can return with the wand, Murray winning Boots' allegiance long enough to convince her to give him the wand. Claudia attempts to attack him, but Murray is able to trick her into firing a spell that draws her into a mirror, which is subsequently shattered.

Murray, Charlie, and Annabel return to Central Park and restore Oliver just in time. He is given the part of Sable's understudy thanks to a producer who enjoyed his audition. In order to finally grant Annabel's wish, Murray appears backstage and causes Sable to slip on a bucket, and twist his ankle. The resultant temper tantrum gets him fired and Oliver, his understudy, is cast in his place. Charlie and Annabel watch the show with Murray and the other fairy godmothers including Hortence, who is now free from Claudia's spell.



Reception to the movie was negative, with Pixelated Geek's Cinerina stating that while the movie's jokes might not appeal to adults, the movie would have appeal for a younger audience.[3] Roger Ebert gave the film one and half stars, saying "When family audiences avoid inspired films like The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and Shiloh, why would they choose a pallid exercise like this?"[4] ReelViews and the Austin Chronicle both reviewed the film,[5] with the Chronicle stating that "The concept's good... But this family film about an incompetent fairy godmother named Murray (Short), is shy several handfuls of fairy dust."[6]

The Rotten Tomatoes approval rating is currently 25% based on 16 reviews.


  1. ^ A Simple Wish at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Nat Segaloff, Final Cuts: The Last Films of 50 Great Directors, Bear Manor Media 2013 p 247-248
  3. ^ A Simple Wish PixelatedGeek
  5. ^ Review: A Simple Wish ReelViews
  6. ^ A Simple Wish Austin Chronicle

External links

24th Saturn Awards

The 24th Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror film and television in 1997, were held on June 10, 1998.Below is a complete list of nominees and winners. Winners are highlighted in bold.

Amanda Plummer

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Blue Sky Studios

Blue Sky Studios, Inc. is an American computer animation film studio based in Greenwich, Connecticut that has been owned by 20th Century Fox since 1997. The studio was founded in 1987 by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy after the company they worked in, MAGI, one of the visual effects studios behind Tron (1982), shut down. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films before completely dedicating itself to animated film production in 2002 starting with the release of Ice Age.

Ice Age and Rio are the studio's most successful franchises, while Horton Hears a Who! and The Peanuts Movie are its most critically acclaimed films. As of 2013, Scrat, a character from the Ice Age films, is the studio's mascot.

Brad Lewis

Bradford Clark Lewis (born April 29, 1958) is an American film producer, animation director and local politician. He produced Antz and the Oscar-winning Ratatouille. He also co-directed Cars 2 and produced Storks. He is a former mayor of the city of San Carlos, California.

Bruce Broughton

Bruce Broughton (born March 8, 1945) is an American orchestral composer of television, film, and video game scores and concert works. He has composed several highly acclaimed soundtracks over his extensive career, and he has won nine Emmy Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Broughton is currently a lecturer in composition at the UCLA.

Francis Capra

Francis Capra (born April 27, 1983) is an American actor. He has portrayed Calogero Anello in A Bronx Tale, Max Connor in Kazaam, and Eli "Weevil" Navarro in the TV series Veronica Mars.

Jack McGee (actor)

Jack McGee (born February 2, 1949) is an American television and film character actor. He has appeared in over 100 films and television series.McGee is perhaps best known as Chief Jerry Reilly on the television series Rescue Me. He was a regular cast member on the FX series for three seasons. In 2010, he co-starred as Hickey on the Spike TV comedy series Players.

Kathleen Turner

Mary Kathleen Turner (born June 19, 1954), better known as Kathleen Turner, is an American film and stage actress and director. Known for her distinctive husky voice, Turner has won two Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Turner rose to fame during the 1980s, after roles in Body Heat (1981), The Man with Two Brains (1983), Crimes of Passion (1984), Romancing the Stone (1984), and Prizzi's Honor (1985), the last two earning her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In the later 1980s and early 1990s, Turner had roles in The Accidental Tourist (1988), The War of the Roses (1989), Serial Mom (1994) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Turner later had roles in The Virgin Suicides (1999), Baby Geniuses (1999), and Beautiful (2000), as well as guest-starring on the NBC sitcom Friends as Chandler Bing's cross-dressing father Charles Bing, and in the third season of Showtime's Californication as Sue Collini, the jaded, sex-crazed owner of a talent agency. Turner has also done considerable work as a voice actress, namely as Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), as well as Monster House (2006), and the television series The Simpsons and King of the Hill.

In addition to film, Turner has worked in the theatre, and has been nominated for the Tony Award twice for her Broadway roles as Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Turner has also taught acting classes at New York University.

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Mara Wilson

Mara Elizabeth Wilson (born July 24, 1987) is an American writer and former child actress. Her best known roles include Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street (1994), Matilda Wormwood in Matilda (1996), and Lily Stone in Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000). Since retiring from film acting, Wilson has focused on writing, penning the play Sheeple which was produced for the New York International Fringe Festival in 2013 as well as publishing a memoir, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame (2016).

Martin Short

Martin Hayter Short (born March 26, 1950) is a Canadian comedian, actor, singer and writer. He is known for his work on the television programs SCTV and Saturday Night Live. He has starred in comedy films, such as Three Amigos (1986), Innerspace (1987), Three Fugitives (1989), Father of the Bride (1991), Pure Luck (1991), Captain Ron (1992), Father of the Bride Part II (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996), and Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), and created the characters, Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley. In 1999, he won a Tony Award for his lead performance in a Broadway revival of Little Me.

Michael Ritchie (film director)

Michael Brunswick Ritchie (November 28, 1938 – April 16, 2001) was an American film director of films with comical or satirical leanings, such as The Candidate and Smile. He scored commercial successes directing sports films like Downhill Racer, The Bad News Bears and Chevy Chase's Fletch comedies.

Peter Hudecki

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Robert Pastorelli

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Having acquired a reputation as a skilled character actor in the 1980s and 1990s, Pastorelli's career went into decline after the death of his girlfriend in mysterious circumstances at his home in 1999. He died of a narcotic overdose in 2004.

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee (born Ruby Ann Wallace, October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014) was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of "Ruth Younger" in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961). Her other notable film roles include The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) and Do the Right Thing (1989).

For her performance as Mahalee Lucas in American Gangster (2007), Dee was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

Dee was a Grammy, Emmy, Obie and Drama Desk winner. She was also a National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honors and Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award recipient.

Dee was married to Ossie Davis, with whom she frequently performed until his death in 2005.

Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor

The Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor is one of the annual awards given by the American professional organization the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. The Saturn Awards are the oldest film-specialized awards to reward science fiction, fantasy, and horror achievements (the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, awarded by the World Science Fiction Society who reward science fiction and fantasy in various media, is the oldest award for science fiction and fantasy films).

The category was first introduced for the 1984 film year, specifically to reward young actors and actresses in films, and was the first acting award of the Academy to reward both males and females. Chloë Grace Moretz and Tom Holland are the only actors to have won it twice, with Holland being the only one to have won it two years in a row, and to have won twice for the same role. Moretz and Daniel Radcliffe have received the most nominations, with 5 each. Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, and Tobey Maguire are the only actors to have won both Best Performance by a Younger Actor and later a Saturn Award for adults.

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Weingeister (English: Wine Spirits) is the eighth and final release of Einstürzende Neubauten's Musterhaus project, a series of highly experimental CD releases that were only available via an annual subscription through their website or from shows during their 25th Anniversary Tour. This project was separate from their Neubauten.org Supporter Project, which it ran concurrent to.

The central theme of this last Musterhaus release is recordings of the band members drinking and enjoying different kinds of wine. As quoted from the back of the album:

"It started out as just an idea, perhaps out of a simple wish to drink some wine with friends as a performance, not talking, just ritualised behavior (symposium in the original sense?), concentrating on just the wine and on the sound. Everything was miked, the table, the glasses, the throats - and we really didn't know where this was taking us. Yes, the wines were good."

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