A Simple Wish
This comic children's fantasy from director Michael Ritchie stars Mara Wilson as eight-year-old New Yorker Anabel, who wishes that her father Oliver (Robert Pastorelli), a hansom cab driver in Central Park, would see his dream come true. In a thinly veiled jab at the overblown stage productions of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Oliver aspires to be cast in the lead role in a new big-budget musical based on A Tale of Two Cities. Anabel's wish is received by Murray (Martin Short), the very first male fairy godmother, a bumbler who predictably botches the spell fulfilling Anabel's wish, turning Oliver into a statue instead. In order to reverse the mistake, Murray needs help from his union, the North American Fairy Godmothers Association (NAFGA), which is holding a convention in Manhattan. Enter Claudia (Kathleen Turner), a scheming former fairy godmother turned witch, who steals the attendees' magic wands, intending to use their magic in a bid for power. A Simple Wish (1997) was one of four films representing the initial slate of The Bubble Factory, a movie production house assembled by the theater world's Sheinberg family. Their other films were The Pest (1997), McHale's Navy (1997), and For Richer or Poorer (1997).