Thursday, December 29, 2005

Got a black magic woman ... : "Bewitched"

It's a sad commentary on the state of movies today when you hope that one of the myriad remakes of old TV shows will be merely adequate. Actually good? Hey, let's not get crazy.

No worries with "Bewitched," which is ... um, not good. Don't get me wrong. I expected very little from this fluff, and watched it because (again) it was something the whole family could tolerate. Alas, my wife fell asleep, leaving me to soldier through to the sappy end.

In what is supposed to be a clever twist, Nicole Kidman ("Billy Bathgate") plays a witch who is almost accidentally cast as Samantha in a TV remake of "Bewitched." You see? It's a movie about a remake, not just a remake itself. Genius! (Thank yooouuuu!!!) She plays opposite Will Ferrell ("The Ladies Man"), a washed up movie actor who only wants an unknown so he can have all the lines. But that doesn't go over so well with audiences and Kidman. As you might guess ... wait for it ... hijinks ensue.

Kidman looks fantastic and is sort of amusing, but ultimately her character is just too annoying. (Nice nose, though.) Ferrell has been better in almost anything else, getting only a few maybe-funny scenes and a lot more bumbling/doe-eyed ones. I'm not saying he needs to unleashed -- I actually don't go for the yelling so much -- but he's usually better when he hams it up in some way. Even though he's a washed-up actor here, he's more the straight man, and that's not so good for him.

Fear not, though, as other stars are even more wasted. Michael Caine mails in his performance as Kidman's dad, while Shirley MacLaine is nothing special as the actress playing Endora. About the only funny thing between them was him trying to hit on young girls while she plants less than appealing dialogue in their mouths. ("Hey there! I have Hepatitis C!")

Other supporting players aren't given anything great to do, either, and the whole movie turns out to be a little sad. Looks great, has talented actors, but ultimately isn't even cute or mildly amusing. Hell, if they were going to pull something like this, they could have had the decency to remake the other show and dress Kidman up in a genie outfit. Now that I would have seen on the big screen.


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