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Film / A Simple Wish

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A 1997 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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Duane is mistakenly called Roy because he is wearing Roy's stolen T-shirt.
  • An Aesop: There's no such thing as a simple wish. Any desire will have repercussions beyond what you can predict.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Two Cities, a musical adaption of A Tale of Two Cities. Annabel's wish is for her dad to be cast in as the star role so that her family won't have to move to Nebraska, which is the driving point behind the whole film.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Duane, after being turned into a giant rabbi.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Claudia briefly gets distracted by a mirror.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: However, the real problem isn't from the wish-maker, but the wish-granter.
  • Big Bad: Claudia, a former Fairy Godmother who stages a coup to steal all the magic wands for herself to obtain ultimate power.
  • Cain and Abel: Duane mentions that he shot and killed his brother, Roy, just to get a clean T-Shirt.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Murray mentions early in the film that he's skilled with spells involving frogs and rain, which comes in handy when sabotaging Tony Sable's audition.
  • Fairy Godmothers: And a whole lot of them. Murray happens to be the only male Fairy Godmother.
  • Fate Worse than Death: At the end of the movie, Claudia accidentally traps herself inside her mirror... which she then proceeds to accidentally break.
    Murray: Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Now who's the fairest of them all?
    Claudia: I am! I AM! Uh-oh... *mirror falls and shatters* We are! WE ARE!
  • Fun with Acronyms: NAFGA, the "North American Fairy Godmother Association" (read: NAFTA, or North American Free Trade Agreement).
  • Hand Gagging: Boots does this to Anabel when ordered to capture Murray. Of course, they wanted to go and see Claudia, anyway.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Boots betrays Claudia by giving Murray's wand back to its rightful owner after realizing that Claudia will never make her a partner. This, however, results in her being turned back into a dog.
  • He is the Fairy Godmother
  • Humanity Ensues: Claudia's Dragon, Boots, was originally a dog. She is later changed back after seeing the true colors of her master.
  • Inept Mage: Murray is...not a very good fairy godmother. A lot of the problems in the film stem from his mess-ups. He gets better in the end, though.
  • Jerkass: Duane, all the way. We also get Tony Sable, whose jerkassness in the end costs him the lead role in the play after tripping over a bucket, courtesy of Murray. Claudia also counts of course, being the villain and all.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point near the end of the film, an enchantedly-boneless Murray's face collides with the camera, covering it.
  • Missing Mom: All we know about Annabel and Charlie's mother is that she's deceased.
  • Poke the Poodle: Claudia "tortures" Annabel and Murray by forcing them to dance like ballerinas.
  • Taken for Granite: Murray's attempt to grant Anabel's wish at Central Park results in Oliver being turned into a statue, Duchess being turned into a mouse, and a carriage being turned into a pumpkin. They get better.
  • Wicked Witch: Claudia
  • Wishing for More Wishes: Murray tells Annabel that she can't do this with her wish and they plugged this loophole up years ago.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Duane has no problems with attempting to shoot Annabel or crush her after a transformation backfire.