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A Simple Wish

Original film poster
Directed by Michael Ritchie
Produced by Michael S. Glick
Jeff Rothberg
Bill Sheinberg
Jonathan Sheinberg
Sid Sheinberg
Written by Jeff Rothberg
Starring Martin Short
Mara Wilson
Robert Pastorelli
Amanda Plummer
Francis Capra
Ruby Dee
Teri Garr
and Kathleen Turner
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Ralf D. Bode
Editing by William S. Scharf
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) July 11, 1997
Running time 89 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$ 28,000,000

A Simple Wish is a 1997 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 eight-year-old Anabel (Wilson) fulfill her wish that her father, a carriage driver, wins the leading role in a Broadway musical.


The film begins with many fairy godmothers taking an exam, there is only one male Fairy Godmother doing the exam, after a few hours of unsuccessfully trying to copy the other fairy godmothers' exams in order to pass his own quicker. He eventually finishes, the film then takes place three months later after the exam concerning the life of an otherwise insignificant park carriage driver named Oliver Greening. After an accident with his horse, he picks up his daughter and son, Annabel and Charlie from school, whereupon Oliver must then go to his audition for the Tale of Two Cities. However, the man who watches Oliver respects his work and even though he would like to consider him, he can't due to his promise to the show's backers of a big name actor in the role.

After Annabel attempts to get Charlie to believe that the tooth fairy exists, Charlie insists on Annabel's wish and then Murray the fairy godmother appears on the scene after Charlie has gone to sleep. That night, Hortence (Ruby Dee), the head of all fairy godmothers, is holding the annual meeting of the North American Fairy Godmothers Association. All the fairy godmothers appear at the NAFGA home for this meeting, but when Murray arrives at the headquarters, a policeman finds him and then Murray attempts to prove his reality in being a fairy godmother.

Meanwhile, Claudia, a former fairy godmother turned evil witch, has shown up to the meeting uninvited, where she plans to steal all the wands. As she's attempting to steal the wands, however, Hortence appears on the scene and attempts to stop Claudia. But despite Hortence's efforts, Claudia casts a wicked spell on Hortence, that turns her flat and 2-dimensional. Hortence pleads, but Claudia simply casts another spell, stuffing Hortence's mouth with bricks, rendering Hortence helpless and allowing Claudia to run off with all the wands. Claudia believes she has all the wands to herself... but she doesn't realize she's missing one.

The next day, Annabel realizes that Murray has left his magic wand behind and decides to return it to him, but Charlie breaks the wand and during class; Annabel tries to fix it, but fails. Annabel runs out of class and hides behind a bookshelf and then, unexpectedly, meets Murray; although the teacher then finds them. The two disappear to Nebraska, by way of a misconstrued spell cast by Murray to get out quickly.

Annabel soon realizes that they are no longer in Manhattan, but in Nebraska, after Murray tries and fails to turn a selfish motel owner into a giant rabbit (turning him into a fifty foot tall rabbi, instead); the two end up back in Central Park. Because of Murray and Annabel disappearing in an unexplained way, the school closes early and then Charlie finds Annabel and meets Murray; due to yet another mishap by Murray, Oliver is turned into a statue, his horse is turned into a little plump white mouse and his carriage becomes a pumpkin.

Then, the three of them go to NAFGAa and tell the Queen of the Fairy Godmothers, after Annabel tells the head everything. The spell must be lifted before midnight, or their Dad will become a statue and remain like that for the rest of his life; but the wands are all at Claudia's, an evil witch who performs black magic. Annabel refuses to tell Claudia where it is, as punishment, Annabel becomes a great ballerina who dances with The Flight of the Bumblebee; then Murray takes part in it and then the music speeds up and then the music stops altogether when Annabel finally admits where Claudia's wand is.

After a fight over the possession of the wand, Claudia wins but Boots (a dog whom Claudia turned human), gives Murray the wand. Out of spite, Claudia turns Boots back into a dog, then attempts to cast a spell on Murray, but, instead, rebounds on a mirror, drawing her into it: her struggles to escape it cause the mirror to fall down, shattering into tiny pieces. Murray then restores Oliver in time for the performance. In order to finally grant Annabel's wish, Murray causes Tony Sable to slip on a bucket, and the resultant temper tantrum gets him fired and Oliver, his understudy, is cast in his place. The Palace Theatre play (an adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities) is a success.

Cast listing

External links

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