Rated PG-13 for some language, including sex and drug references, and partial nudity.
Directed By: Nora Ephron
Written By: Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron
Staring: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, and Jason Schwartzman
I am through with just snapping my fingers and getting my way. -Isabel
Despite being concerned about making a film involving the magical memory of one of my favorite television shows ever, the concept actually gave a fresh twist to a beloved character and show. Instead of trying to recapture the glory of Samantha and Darrin, Bewitched paid it an honest amount of respect and affection. Unfortunately, the calamitous execution regressed itself to a formulaic simpleton of a movie. There certainly was potential and it was squandered by a Hollywood that is clearly too afraid to try something new and follow through with it.
A witch decides she wants to live in the world of mortals so she buys a house and begins her venture into normality. Because her adventures take her to California it should surprise no one that she makes her way into the magical land of Hollywood and is offered the position the play a witch. Only in the movies right? Well fair enough. She is enlisted to play the role of the most notorious television witch of all time: Samantha from Bewitched. What her choices and the television show do is wildly surprisingly, especially for Isabel.
In spite of the lame turns the story takes Nicole Kidman was exemplary casting. Her invaluable talent translated through her interpretation of Isabel, the witch who desires nothing more than to be a mortal while playing a witch on a television show. Even with some of the ridiculous situationsEphron puts her through she still remains a likable character, even if she does moronic things. Shirley MacLaine was the next most positive thing about the film. She helped Kidman balance Ferrell’s stagnant overacting and grounded the film as much as it could be grounded. Strangely, Michael Caine’s role was forgettable, even though Caine himself is one of the finest actors in the business, some people still can’t overcome bad writing and unfortunate editing.
I usually enjoy Will Ferrell. On his own he is utterly hilarious, and though he generally plays the same character in every film I would be content with that so long long as the films were written and directed to support that “character” he brings out, but a lot of times it just doesn’t work. It didn’t in Bewitched. His character wasn’t funny, but he wasn’t even sympathetic. I don’t think the audience will be rooting for him, but be turned off as well.
I can’t claim to have expected much from this movie but the first twenty minutes did give me some false hope, but in the end Bewitched became yet another source of annoyance in the romantic comedy genre. There was nothing original to say, the jokes didn’t work, and the inevitable conclusion lacked the sweetness and the comedy that is necessary for success if a film is going to follow that typical formula. Bewitched was another forgettable film that failed because it was too afraid to take any risks.