Lately, there have been several movies combining two, usually clashing ideas into one formula. To make this formula successful, the two base ideas need to be woven around one another until the movie is seamless and smooth. The clashing aspects of the film need to be made to look natural. Some have succeeded, others have failed. And in Practical Magic, where director Griffin Dunne attempts to put witches into a romantic comedy, little is to be said.
It's not that Practical Magic is a bad movie. There are some seriously funny parts and no expense is taken to spoof some of the most common witch stereotypes, such as brooms. Acting was a delight; there were no flaws in Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, or any of the others.
The problem lies within how the movie was filmed and how it was written. Basically, Practical Magic was not filmed to be a comedy in any sense. It was filmed like a pure drama, with lots of rotating views. The movie basically was a drama, with comical interludes, but that doesn't matter. It was portrayed as a romantic comedy and I went to go see a romantic comedy. There was comedy, but it was more dramatic than comical, and the romance was dull and uninspiring.
There seemed to be more time spent on filming effects than story, because there was none. The romance hardly meshed at all with the witch subplot. The magic just allowed the characters to get out of trouble easier and quicker.
The other disappointment was Jimmy. Totally unexpected was his seemingly major role in the movie, which totally shrouded the romantic aspects. They bring him back to life, then kill him again when he tries to kill them, and finally bury him in the backyard. But it's obvious that he's not really dead - Sally's daughter sees him in the garden, his boots mysteriously sink into the ground, and his familiar brand of tequila is found on the porch. And then he pops out of Nicole Kidman and everyone says: "I didn't know this was a horror film!"
Practical Magic did not live up to expectations but some extremely comical parts and likable characters save it from being a total disaster.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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