by Greg Muskewitz
"Bedazzled": inane, incompetent remake of the old Dudley Moore comedy. Any attempt for laughs is quickly denied after a lack of development beyond the established situations.Brendan Fraser is Elliot, as the movie helpfully points out, "lonely," "eager to please," "oblivious," "doormat," but forgot to mention annoying, poseur, dopey, moronic, lame-brained, perfunctory, brazen, repugnant, ostentatious, platitudinous, obstreperous, bumptious, loquacious, obsequious, and just plain unlikable. Unable to fit in, he signs his soul over to the Devil, a female, and not Roseanne (instead, Elisabeth Hurley) for seven wishes.
"Bedulled. It simply isn't funny."
All he really wants is Alison (Frances O’Connor) to notice/love him, but each time he corrects an awry wish from one superficiality to another, the egregious monotony becomes irreversible.
Each situation that’s bound to go horribly wrong has potential for laughs (a Colombian drug lord, a sensitive wuss who cries at sunsets, a gigantic basketball player with a small penis, a gay intellectual) but writer/director Harold Ramis goes absolutely nowhere with any of the ideas. An occasional smile brought to face doesn’t save this trite trash. Ramis seriously plummets after a delightful run with "Analyze This." The success of that movie upon cogitation must have been in the hands of the actors (De Niro, Crystal, Kudrow, Viterlli, et al.).
Problem number one is Brendan Fraser. He can’t act, he has no charisma –he’s just a totally unlikable presence. And Fraser is constantly playing Flintstone-like idiots ("George of the Jungle," "Dudley Do-Right," "The Mummy," "Encino Man (!)," and even "Gods and Monster"); the rule of thumb is they are what they play most. I seriously believe he must be one in real life. It takes experience to do it so well. Hurley is no treasure either. She fails to show that she’s anything beyond a sex symbol. Hurley doesn’t act here (I hardly have seen her act at all; she just looked cool in "Austin Powers"), she’s just touted around in a lot of fashionably scanty clothing. She looks great in a bathing suit, but cinematically, it gets us nowhere. No substance, artificial style.
(Decent production design by Rich Heinrichs ("Sleepy Hollow"). I was amused by the morgue room-like file cabinets.)Final Verdict: F.
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originally posted: 10/19/00 05:41:05