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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 11.84%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad38.16%
Total Crap: 34.21%

6 reviews, 40 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"Ferrell's the one with magic powers here."
4 stars

Regular readers are surely tired by now of my raving about what a genius Will Ferrell is, but "Bewitched" adds another chapter to my thesis. Here is a badly paced, poorly constructed movie that is equal parts goopy romantic-comedy and toothless Hollywood satire -- and yet Ferrell makes it not just watchable, but even recommendable. And without him, it would be unbearable.

Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, a fatuous and phony Tinseltown star whose career has taken a nose-dive since the recent highbrow bomb "Last Year in Katmandu." ("The only DVD to sell NO copies," observes his agent Ritchie, weaselishly played by Jason Schwartzman). He has been reduced to the ultimate indignity of taking a lead in a TV sitcom, a remake of "Bewitched." But with Ritchie's encouragement, he demands that the writers make the show more about Darrin (i.e., Jack Wyatt) than about Samantha. All he needs is some no-name to play Samantha, an actress who won't notice that she has few lines and who will be a good straight man for Jack's half-hearted slapstick.

Enter Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), a witch who has just popped up in L.A. to make a normal, non-magical life for herself, to the chagrin of her swingin' warlock father (Michael Caine). While browsing at a bookstore, Jack sees her absent-mindedly twitch her nose, and she is cast as Samantha based on that skill alone. She's reluctant at first -- her people always hated the misrepresentations perpetrated by "Bewitched"; besides, she's not even an actress -- but she relents when Jack says he needs her. See, Isabel wants a man who needs her, a man who is a mess who she can straighten up with the everyday-housewife skills she is just learning. Jack, with his often-unshaven face and his clearly immature attitude, is just the fixer-upper she wants.

So an actual witch has been cast as Samantha; hilarity should ensue. The problem is, the screenplay has been written by chick-flick veterans Delia and Nora Ephron (and directed by Nora), and they show no prowess at all for a self-referential TV update-turned-spoof. Isabel is given almost as little to do as Jack's version of Samantha is, and the episodic movie can't figure out what to do with Kidman's talents (let alone those of Isabel's friends, played by Kristin Chenoweth and Heather Burns). In one extended sequence, Isabel goes on a date with Jack and nearly falls in love with him -- but then, regretting it, reverses time, undoes the date, and starts over. Beware of a movie that tries to tell you an entire 10-minute segment never happened.

Isabel must eventually tell Jack her true nature, of course, and there the movie is comfortably in rom-com territory (revelation of truth; tearful breakup; montage of both parties missing each other; reconciliation). But in the meantime, you have Will Ferrell to enjoy. He is spot-on in his parody of a self-centered Hollywood jerk ("Make 20 cappuccinos and bring me the best one," he tells his staff upon entering the studio one morning), and even funnier during the part of the film where Isabel has put a hex on him to make him appreciate her, a hex that goes too far and makes him a fawning idiot. From egocentric jerk to lovestruck dork, it's all in a day's work for Ferrell.

The Ephrons were wise to let Ferrell work up some of his own dialogue (his old "SNL" collaborator Adam McKay was reportedly called in to help, too); casting Ferrell's pal Steve Carell as Uncle Arthur was smart, too. He does a hilarious Paul Lynde impression, making his few minutes in the film one of the highlights.

In all, it's a rather charming and delightful comedy, its many flaws notwithstanding. A straightforward big-screen adaptation of the old show would have been superfluous, and if the concept they came up with doesn't entirely work, at least it doesn't fall flat. And we Ferrell fans have another respectable work to add to the canon.

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originally posted: 06/24/05 15:20:34
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User Comments

8/18/09 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
1/12/08 Pamela White poor casting all the way around 1 stars
12/02/07 Charles Tatum A movie that couldn't get going, Ferrell is funny, though 3 stars
10/16/06 Ryan_A "I'm a Clippers fan." WTF? No chemistry in the leads, Ephron's clueless re: comedy now... 1 stars
8/28/06 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
6/06/06 Carol Baker a film that just wanted to get all the characters in and too much with Darren 3 stars
5/14/06 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
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Ferrell at his worst. His very worst. Kidman isn't that good herself, either. 2 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz slow and predictable, will farrel has lost his sense of humor. 3 stars
10/26/05 Paul Smith One of the worst movies I have ever seen, what was Nicole Kidman thinking 1 stars
10/26/05 Katie Evridge Cute comedy 4 stars
10/20/05 PAG Lame and unfunny 2 stars
10/20/05 odditie EWW 1 stars
10/19/05 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
9/24/05 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
9/12/05 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
8/30/05 Nick Kraemer tolerable and the $1 theatre 3 stars
8/22/05 Christian Embarrassing without doubt. 2 stars
8/20/05 R. Andrews Terrrible--absolutely dire--unfunny--truly painful! 1 stars
8/11/05 ES Am I the only one getting worn out on Ferrell's 'I'm so crazy and dumb' routine? 1 stars
7/27/05 Atlon Script is going nowhere, irritating overacting 1 stars
7/13/05 Helen Bradley Poor script, overacting, terrible performances except Kidman OK 1 stars
7/12/05 Anne I was bursting with Laughter Will Farrel and Nicole Kidman were a perfect match 5 stars
7/11/05 8=====D will ferral u suck! 1 stars
7/11/05 slanes Very disappointed with the movie. They could have done so much with it and flopped. 2 stars
7/08/05 Uncle Salty "Load of Shit" is too good a rating 1 stars
7/08/05 William Vollmer not great; but not totally gad eithr 3 stars
6/29/05 Jin another dog for Kidman. shes on a roll. 1 stars
6/28/05 katheryne i like it 3 stars
6/27/05 KingNeutron I was looking fwd to it, but expected more. They should have done Endora = her mom "IRL" 3 stars
6/25/05 gerry Entertaining film;great acting by kidman 5 stars
6/21/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble McLanine is genius, the rest is just rehashed doo-doo 3 stars
6/19/05 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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