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Bewitched

A movie directed by Nora Ephron

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A Painfully Bad Film, that is almost unwatchable

  • Jun 23, 2005
  • by
Rating:
-3
Pros: None

Cons: Lousy plot, horrible pacing, lame jokes.

The Bottom Line: A total mess, not worth a rental or your time.

Turning a classic Television series into a feature film can be a risky proposition. While the built in audience of Baby Boomers and new fans of a show gained through reruns make remakes a potentially lucrative venture, the hazards of recasting classic characters and modernizing the story to today’s audiences is rife with hazards.

For example, for every remake that hits such as “The Adams Family, “Starsky and Hutch, and “The Brady Bunch”, there are countless others that fail such as “The Wild Wild West”, “Car 54 Where Are You” and “I-Spy”.
Sadly the new film version of “Bewitched” falls into the latter category as it is so bad it begs the question as to why talent such as Nicole Kidman, Michael Caine, and Will Ferrell signed on.

The story centers on Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), a young woman who is anxious to set off on her own and leave the family structure behind her. While this is not so uncommon for most people, Isabel is a witch and her decision to live as a mortal without her powers is of great consternation to her father (Michael Caine).

Isabel is convinced she can find a man, and can live in happiness and love with a mortal as she wants no part of the shallow and wandering eye that makes up their lifestyle.

Convinced his daughter will never be able to live without her powers, her father chides her and notes her frequent and casual use of powers to do everything from find and furnish her home to paying for everyday needs.
At roughly the same time, fading actor Jack Wyatt is about to sign up to play the male lead in a new television version of the classic Bewitched television series. With the gigantic failure of his recent film, Jack is in need of a hit. Not wanting to take any attention away from his star turn, Jack insists that the producers cast a complete unknown in the role of Samantha as he does not want anyone infringing upon his spotlight.

A chance encounter with Isabel leads to her being cast by Jack in the new series, Isabel is taken by Jack and when she learns the role is that of a Witch, she signs aboard despite some reservations.
Naturally Jack and Isabel will hit it off, and yes there will be issues, particularly when Jack’s shallow nature becomes clear to Isabel, and this is to say nothing of Isabel’s true identity which in and of itself is an issue.

What starts as a good premise with a solid cast quickly dissolves into a disjointed mess thanks to a paper thin plot that is rife with plot holes, non-sequitors, and unresolved moments. One such example is the character of Iris Smythson (Shirley Mac Laine), who plays Endora on the show. It is at first hinted at that she to is a witch and then made obvious. However there is no conclusion to this revelation. We see that she has a power and uses it, but we never really get the why she is there, how she chose to live as she does, and how her relationship with Isabel’s father is going to be altered by this.

Another problem the show has is that Ferell is reduced to running around over-acting to get laughs but the situations go on way to long, and things that are at first amusing, become tedious after a while. One such scene has Ferell’s character appearing nude on a live television appearance. It is something that is used to generate laughs but there is no setup to the scene and it plays out as a desperate attempt to get laughs.

The only thing that works is the charm of Kidman who as the quirky Isabel is delightful as is the supporting work of Caine and Steve Carell as Uncle Arthur. Sadly they are the only good things in a film that became so bad that many in the audience at my press screener were voicing their disdain when we left the film. Perhaps Samantha can twitch her nose and make this one vanish, as there is precious little to redeem it.

1 star out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach

www.sknr.net



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More Bewitched (movie) reviews
review by . April 29, 2009
This is not a good film by any means though Kidman is gorgeous and Will Farrell seems to recreate a similar obnoxious character to Ron Burgandy. Shirley MacClain is wonderful as the actress playing Endora with a few secrets of her own as is Michael Cain as Kidman's father. The highlights of the movie are the unexpected visits of Aunt Clara (Kidman's aunt) and Uncle Arthur (we are not sure if what he is).     Generally, the movie starts off pretty inept with Kidman bored with …
review by . August 28, 2006
Against anything I could have expected Bewitched was a wonderful, satisfying, make you feel good movie that just happened to be on TV on Monday night. I have always loved the original show ever since I was young, scheduling my nights to Nick at Night, gobbling up Samantha Stevens and her poor husband Darren, who had the best time in their lives, even though she was a witch and her tricks seemed to back fire all the time.    Now this movie is not exactly as you would think. I …
review by . January 04, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Well-intentioned "homage" to the classic TV sitcom, with Nicole Kidman as a real-life witch who finds herself playing Samantha in a remake of the original "Bewitched" TV show. Will Ferrell plays a washed-up actor in the Darrin role, with Shirley MacLaine as the flashy, eccentric diva, tackling the role of Endora.    Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is a witch trying to live as best she can without the aid of her magical powers, much to the dismay of her warlock father (Michael …
review by . December 06, 2005
This is not a good film by any means though Kidman is gorgeous and Will Farrell seems to recreate a similar obnoxious character to Ron Burgandy. Shirley MacClain is wonderful as the actress playing Endora with a few secrets of her own as is Michael Cain as Kidman's father. The highlights of the movie are the unexpected visits of Aunt Clara (Kidman's aunt) and Uncle Arthur (we are not sure if what he is).    Generally, the movie starts off pretty inept with Kidman bored with her …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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As one of many in the ongoing trend of resurrecting old TV shows and turning them into contemporary Hollywood product,Bewitchedtries awfully hard to distinguish itself. It succeeds in lots of surprising ways, not least of which is the star power brought by Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Even if they don't create the kind of romantic chemistry that would have elevated the already high concept, they act as delightful foils to each other, but more often to themselves. The conceit of thisBewitchedis that it's a self-reflexive look at the entertainment business, with Ferrell playing Jack Wyatt, an actor starring in an updated version of the classic TV show. Out of favor with the Hollywood elite and desperately in need of a hit, he insists on an unknown to play Samantha, as he wants the show to be abouthim, since if something doesn't come his way soon, he's going to be hearing a lot of no's, despite the yes-men surrounding him. While his agent (Jason Schwartzman in hilarious high Hollywood sleaze mode) gets him the "unknown Samantha" deal, it's Jack himself who discovers his own leading lady in the delightful figure of Isabel Bigalow (Kidman), who possesses just the right nose wiggle, not to mention other wiggles.

But wouldn't you know it, Isabel really is a witch, and exactly the kind of "good" witch trying to rely less on her magical powers that Samantha Stevens was back in her "real" world. Instead of a ...

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