This is a film for children – adults on their own will find the jokes predictable and even a little old – however, we must not forget that kids have never heard these jokes before. The kids all around me this Sunday matinee were laughing and giggling at Martin Short’s antics – he definitely was channeling a little Danny Kaye. If you know me at all, you know that is a high compliment – I mean, he is not Danny Kaye’s heir to the silly children’s jester throne, but he was really as close as Hollywood will let anyone get.
Mara Wilson is – guess what? adorable as the one making the wish. The movie is crawling with Oscar nominees too – generally in scenes together and everything – Kathleen Turner, Teri Garr, and Amanda Plummer (not sure if nominated ever but she should be). There are cute fairy godmothers and wicked witches and adventure and lessons to be learned. A great deal of work went into this movie – it would be a shame if no one ever saw it. But see it with a child, certainly. Robert Pastorelli is a different kind of dad, the wish is a different kind of wish, and this is an infinitely better children’s movie than Wild America or Space Jam (shudder). The production designers and camera people did some really clever things – and there is a fake Broadway show in it that is a soooooo very perfect stab at that institution.
It’s not brilliant or for adults, but it’s a nice, pleasant movie you can pretend to be eight years old with.
Catch a matinee or rent it, depending on your tastes. But only with a kid. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
MPAA Rating PG
Release date 7/14/1997
Time in minutes 89
Director Michael Ritchie
Studio Universal Pictures