I'll give the creators of "Bewitched" props for trying to go outside the box and do something other than your standard television show adaptation. After all, this movie isn't about a remake of Darren and Samantha the witch - it is about a bad remake of a television show and the casting of one beautiful person who just happens to be a real witch. The movie does a great job of making fun of the horrible trend of remaking everything that ever made a dime - at least for the first half hour. Then it crumbles in on itself as it becomes a non-funny romantic comedy...
This movie version of "Bewitched" stars Will Ferrell as a big actor who has been struggling so much at the box office that he is forced to take the role of Darren in a remake of the television show "Bewitched." Wanting to be the only star, he seeks out a no-name actress to play Samantha, and ends up finding Isabelle (Nicole Kidman), who just happens to be a real witch looking to lead a normal life. Of course, she ends up becoming more popular and they go to war with one another, only to realize that they are perfect for each other. Blah blah blah.
Now, I hate to compare this film to "Harry Potter" as they really have nothing to do with one another, but one thing "Harry Potter" does very well is making fun of the fact that magical people (wizards, witches, what's the difference?) don't know a lot of things about the non-magic world without making the magical people seem stupid. Here, Kidman's character comes off as insanely naive and stupid to the point where it's hard to believe, and then, suddenly, when need be, she is a strong and intelligent woman. It never really made sense.
As mentioned earlier, the first half hour or forty minutes of the movie is surprisingly good. Ferrell is much more toned down than normal (though still most definitely Will Ferrell), and he gets plenty of good jokes out of the way in the first act. Kidman isn't anything spectacular, but the real star of the show is her on-screen father, played by none other than Michael Caine. He spends the whole movie hitting on younger women, and that right there is satisfaction in itself.
After the whole introductory period wears off, however, "Bewitched" really has little to offer. Sure, there are a few funny gags here and there, but nothing that makes it worth the wait. The movie goes through the typical hate you-love you phase that all romantic comedies go through, and in the end you can guess what happens. Honestly, I don't think I even paid attention to the last twenty minutes. It is all a blur.
"Bewitched" is not the disaster I was expecting at all, but it still is a waste of talent. This is a satisfying everything-else-is-checked-out-at-the-video-store rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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