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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 11.84%
Just Average: 10.53%
Pretty Crappy38.16%
Sucks: 34.21%

6 reviews, 40 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Kidman doesn't bring the magic"
2 stars

While “Bewitched” tries to twist the turn the idea of a remake on its ear through it’s post-modern plotting, the effort is hardly worth a damn with there’s not a drop of magic to the film. Lead performances by Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell are welcome and grabby, but writer/director Nora Ephron is in way over her head, and the film eventually falls to pieces.

After his acting career in movies bottoms out, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) accepts the role of Darren in a television remake of “Bewitched.” At the urging of his agent (Jason Schwartzman), Jack demands a newcomer for the Samantha role, and finds his muse in a real life witch named Isabel (Nicole Kidman). Isabel is enamored with Jack, much to the chagrin of her father (Michael Caine), and accepts the role, only to learn how Hollywood is really run: with heaps and heaps of ego. Using the witchcraft she swore was behind her, Isabel tries to get Jack to change his boorish ways without giving away her true powers.

The central gimmick behind “Bewitched” is an interesting twist on the expected straight-up remake. This feature film bends the original 60’s sitcom in an itchy, post-modern way, much like “Scream” did for slasher movies back in the 1990s. And much like “Scream,” “Bewitched” doesn’t quite know what to do with itself once it reaches the end of its initial cleverness. As a sharp attempt to buck current remake trends, it’s a fine attempt; as a feature film, “Bewitched” is lacking serious sparkle.

Coming out of a five year sabbatical is writer/director Nora Ephron, she of teeth-grindingly shrill comedies like “Michael” and “You’ve Got Mail.” While holding a lauded list of entertainment achievements over her career, I’ve never felt Ephron was much of a filmmaker, for she clings too tightly to the recognizable and pedestrian to survive her own endeavors. However, now Ephron is faced with Will Ferrell, a comedic bobcat who loves to play unconventionally. So, what happens when these two styles meet in the arena of a big-budget summer comedy? Sadly, nothing much. After last May’s heartbreaking “Kicking and Screaming,” Ferrell has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he needs a director who can match his lightening-quick thought process and penchant for gleeful absurdity (like Adam McKay or John Favreau) without relying on it to provide the only laughs for the film. Ephron isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, the right woman for that job.

“Bewitched” tries to be both a wacky special effects comedy and a syrupy romantic comedy, and the mixture creates more moments of unease than desired audience sympathy. On one side you have the dynamic between Isabel and Jack, and their cutesy, spell-enhanced courtship, which comes together gently due to the unexpected chemistry between Ferrell and Kidman. And on the other side of the film is Ferrell’s brand of tomfoolery, often seen in improvisational yelling matches and other traditional Ferrell moments audiences have come to expect. Somewhere stuck in the middle of the material is the actual “Bewitched” sitcom send-up, which comes and goes in the film with little consequence, especially in the way the film swats away Shirley MacLaine’s cameo as the magical stepmother Endora without much thought. There are far too many colliding tempos in the screenplay (written by Ephron and her sister Delia), the direction, and the performances to make a consistent movie, and the director’s inability to understand how Ferrell’s bottle rocket comedy should be placed in the flow of the story is frustrating. “Bewitched” has plenty of laughs, but they’re the odd kind that come quickly and unexpectedly, and leave just as fast. This picture is not the steady belly-roll it desperately desires to be.

As “Bewitched” rumbles along, the enterprise becomes grabbier for clever material, and a last minute idea to put mediocre comedic actor Steve Carell in the film doing an awful impression of Paul Lynde’s Uncle Arthur is a movie low point.

While the picture gives Nicole Kidman a much needed chance to flex her honeyed comedic skills (along with making her so adorable, baby pandas should sue), and hands Ferrell another cakewalk role he can breeze through, in the end, “Bewitched” is a poorly executed mess that no wiggle of the nose can save.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12480&reviewer=404
originally posted: 06/27/05 02:01:37
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User Comments

8/17/09 Jeff Wilder Not godawful. But little of real substance. Feels like it could've gone right to video. 2 stars
5/28/09 Samantha Pruitt crappy remake, should have stayed a TV show! 2 stars
1/11/08 Pamela White poor casting all the way around 1 stars
12/01/07 Charles Tatum A movie that couldn't get going, Ferrell is funny, though 3 stars
10/15/06 Ryan_A "I'm a Clippers fan." WTF? No chemistry in the leads, Ephron's clueless re: comedy now... 1 stars
8/27/06 JenDenmark Not the traditional "bewitched" feeling, but the plot was built up in a fun way! 4 stars
7/08/06 drydock54321 why did they have to ruin it. they should have made them the real samantha & darren 1 stars
6/05/06 Carol Baker a film that just wanted to get all the characters in and too much with Darren 3 stars
5/13/06 Ron Green Whay a disapointment! Does not do the original justice. This film is NOT Bewitched! 2 stars
12/30/05 tony No value whatsoever 2 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Ferrell at his worst. His very worst. Kidman isn't that good herself, either. 2 stars
10/26/05 deadwiz slow and predictable, will farrel has lost his sense of humor. 3 stars
10/25/05 Paul Smith One of the worst movies I have ever seen, what was Nicole Kidman thinking 1 stars
10/25/05 Katie Evridge Cute comedy 4 stars
10/20/05 PAG Lame and unfunny 2 stars
10/19/05 odditie EWW 1 stars
10/18/05 the untrained eye Can the word Ephron now be an adjective, as in "a total piece of Ephron?" 1 stars
9/24/05 Alvin Stroud Exactly, Rachel. But do you mean NK's s___ DOES stink??? 2 stars
9/23/05 Rachel Thompson Tedious&Disorganized. Nicole Kidman thinks her shit don't stink. 2 stars
9/18/05 jaypee licaros wala lang gagamitin ko lang sa movie review 5 stars
9/11/05 Dawn I really enjoyed this movie, as I went in knowing it wasn't gonna be like the movie, 5 stars
8/31/05 Lauren it sucks 1 stars
8/29/05 Nick Kraemer tolerable and the $1 theatre 3 stars
8/21/05 Christian Embarrassing without doubt. 2 stars
8/19/05 R. Andrews Terrrible--absolutely dire--unfunny--truly painful! 1 stars
8/10/05 ES Am I the only one getting worn out on Ferrell's 'I'm so crazy and dumb' routine? 1 stars
7/26/05 Atlon Script is going nowhere, irritating overacting 1 stars
7/13/05 Helen Bradley Poor script, overacting, terrible performances except Kidman OK 1 stars
7/11/05 Anne I was bursting with Laughter Will Farrel and Nicole Kidman were a perfect match 5 stars
7/10/05 8=====D will ferral u suck! 1 stars
7/10/05 slanes Very disappointed with the movie. They could have done so much with it and flopped. 2 stars
7/07/05 Uncle Salty "Load of Shit" is too good a rating 1 stars
7/07/05 William Vollmer not great; but not totally gad eithr 3 stars
6/28/05 Jin another dog for Kidman. shes on a roll. 1 stars
6/27/05 katheryne i like it 3 stars
6/26/05 KingNeutron I was looking fwd to it, but expected more. They should have done Endora = her mom "IRL" 3 stars
6/24/05 gerry Entertaining film;great acting by kidman 5 stars
6/20/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble McLanine is genius, the rest is just rehashed doo-doo 3 stars
6/18/05 Ray Not as bad as I thought it would be 4 stars
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  24-Jun-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Oct-2005



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