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12 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Bedazzled (2000)
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by Erik Childress

"Terrific Fraser Sold-Out By Hurley & Script"
3 stars

The year of the remake continues with what seems about fifty updated versions of older titles. This one directed by Harold Ramis, one of the most reliable comedy writer/directors working today, whose films never fall below the status of a good rental or cable viewing. The old saying amongst critics and film scholars, one that is never followed, is that you don't remake good movies. You remake bad ones. Well, the latest remake is a 33-year old updating of a hilarious comedy that used the story of Faust as its inspiration. The Bedazzled of the year 2000 could certainly have used a little more of that.

Brendan Fraser plays Elliot, a nerdy office worker who initially tries so hard to make friends that he ends up annoying everyone around him, including the office. Heís got his eye on fellow company woman, Alison (Frances OíConnor) but canít seem to get the right words out of his month to get her to like him. This trend will continue when Elliot is summoned by the Devil in the red dress, known to us as Elizabeth Hurley. Sheís going to grant him seven wishes for his little soul and he finally accepts when he realizes she can deliver Alison and make her love him, or so he thinks. Thus, like the original, begins a series of comic-laden sketches where everything is seemingly granted to our unwitting hero, but the devil being a clever little minx finds a way to make it all go wrong.

This new Bedazzled doesnít go all wrong. It just has two problems. The script and Elizabeth Hurley. With a script credited to Ramis, Peter Tolan (Analyze This) and Larry Gelbart (Tootsie), you would think that big laughs and some occasionally sharp dialogue are going to win us over. But they donít. In 1967, Dudley Moore (as the short-order chef) & Peter Cook (as the devil) had several interesting (and very funny) conversations about religion and the nature of God. Cookís devil was collecting souls in an attempt to get back into heaven. Hurley seems to be doing it because sheís bored. Even the mischief she causes in between the wishes, like the parking meters and traffic lights, seems very tame. With a sexy grin always emanating from her face, Hurley seems to just relish playing the role, instead of bringing anything to it. A fellow colleague of mine stated that Hurley is more like Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science than Peter Cook from the 1967 classic. Later I responded that at least LeBrockís Lisa was given funny dialogue. Hurleyís devil is more like the tantalizing temptresses of late night soft-core horror films than the wacky headmaster of the underworld.

In fact, all of the laughs that Bedazzled has to offer must be given full credit to Brendan Fraser. Here is a guy who I have always found to be underrated as an actor. Sure, Encino Man was hardly a grand way to start out a career, but in subsequent films has proven to be someone who allows himself to play goofy characters despite his overt handsomeness. His dramatic roles in School Ties and Gods & Monsters speak for themselves but heís really come into his own as a wonderful comic actor. In movies like George of the Jungle, Dudley-Do-Right, and even The Mummy, Fraser always finds the right note as he does in Bedazzled, despite the ill-advised opening scenes. He has an honest look of despair and we want to see him get the girl.

Bedazzled doesnít really kick into gear until the wishes begin and they start out in overdrive with a hilarious sequence (spoken entirely in subtitles) where Elliot finds himself a Colombian drug lord. He fares just as well as a super-sensitive male and a 7í6Ē hick of a basketball player who could have used just a few more inches. But then the script betrays Fraser by becoming too predictable and not very funny. I liked the twist of Elliotís sophisticated well-spoken wish, but it feels more like a punchline than a true piece of comic inspiration. What did was his wish to be President, but all comic opportunity is lost as we know the punchline and nothing is done to exploit its potential for a riotous sense of paranoia.

Where the update misses its true opportunity is to make the commentary on what women want. No, not the upcoming Mel Gibson film, but how Elliotís hope are continually dashed not only because of poor wording, but because he canít figure out what the love of his life wants out of a man. This is explored a little at a tail end of a couple wishes, but itís dropped just as it starts to pick up depth. All the more surprising when you consider that the more recent films of Harold Ramis have all dealt with exploring human nature and decoding both the good and the mystery of men wading their way through a difficult period in their lives, while providing a barrel of laughs as icing.

For all the laws of the movie world, despite the no-no on remaking good ones, this film should have worked. With all the great films Harold Ramis has been a part of, itís amazing when you realize heís only directed eight films and had his hand in the writing process in another nine. When you consider films like Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, and the underrated Stuart Saves His Family and Multiplicity, you begin to realize how vital Ramis has been to the world of comedy. Many of us have grown up on his work and these titles will forever remain in the upper echelon of big-screen comedies.

Unfortunately, Bedazzled will not join those ranks, and seems more like a project designed for those unaware of the original classic. Itís not a film that cried out for an update. It wasnít in black and white, so there was no need to colorize it. It was a British comedy, but not a foreign one that cried out for an American voice track. It wasnít a big special effects film that could be improved on with vast CGI methods. It was a comedy and a very good one at that. And while the new Bedazzled does have its share of good laughs, itís a film more suited more for a good rental or cable viewing. (Note: For fans of the original classic, keep an ear open for the name of the devilís dogs during the beach scene.)

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originally posted: 10/23/00 13:49:27
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User Comments

10/04/10 brian Dreadful. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. Fraser needs direction; Ramis can't deliver. 1 stars
11/02/08 Samantha Pruitt there were some funny parts, Brendan Fraser is always great! 3 stars
6/23/07 DonnyM Brendon does a great job of proving he is a good actor. 3 stars
1/30/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
3/16/05 Jeff Anderson Some funny parts, but I enjoyed the original Dudley Moore/Peter Cook version much better! 3 stars
12/02/04 Katarina Pretty Good, But Some Parts dont really fit 3 stars
8/17/04 Herolder A lot of fun 4 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva funny 3 stars
5/07/04 greater good a well balenced movie 5 stars
4/11/04 alpine liz hurley is the most gorgeous sexy woman ever born and how or bad the film is does not ma 5 stars
4/07/04 archangeljen It was just alright, I laughed at a few things. 3 stars
2/11/04 jessica it was anazing. 5 stars
12/09/03 Amanda Locker Harold Ramis is amazing! Don't ever insult him! He is great! 5 stars
10/25/03 Al Baston You missed it, should of had a hit of so,e fine Humboldt organic. 3 stars
2/18/03 Mitsaso For Harley's sake... 4 stars
11/26/02 bree awesome and funny 5 stars
8/26/02 Dickles McSquick It's...bonertime! 5 stars
8/12/02 Grayyy It's cute watching Liz try her best, but the whole thing still blows 1 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi well...ill go with my rating...pretty bad 2 stars
5/14/02 Danielle Ophelia Elizabeth Hurley's contract with Satan stated she had to play him at least once, I think. 1 stars
4/05/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Elizabeth Hurley always seems to get rotten roles. So why not the devil herself? ~Works. 4 stars
3/02/02 Chowie I'll have to see it again before I can make an educated decision, but from what i remember- 2 stars
1/16/02 David A. Not very exciting--I can't remember anything funny about it. 3 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick ho-hum zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
1/08/02 Andrew Carden OK Comedy. Unfunny, but Amusing. Kills Time. 3 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean HurleAn average comedy with a great message at the end to all religious zealots 4 stars
8/10/01 chouck all those skimpy outfits and this still sucked 2 stars
7/25/01 Suzanne It was funny at times but overall pretty stooopid 2 stars
7/15/01 Nazi dad Great comedy! Brendan Fraser's a riot! 5 stars
6/09/01 Turtle A bit stupid at times, but Harold Ramis can make any movie great. 4 stars
4/09/01 arnold schwaznaggar uuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhh! ugh! plz only watch my movies!!! 1 stars
3/31/01 Jesse L If Hurley got naked it would be worth a look.. 1 stars
3/09/01 The Evil Penguin sensitve, athletic, smart, or creative? YIKES!!!! 4 stars
2/18/01 Avenger Girl Liz makes a great devil, wearing many sexy outfits that would tempt any hotblooded male 3 stars
2/02/01 Pierce Lanson Saw it in full theatre,young audience, five laughs.Pathetic. 2 stars
1/30/01 jasmin its very nice movie 3 stars
1/29/01 hum eh, no big deal, just a mildly amusing easy film. doesnt help that hurley cant act 3 stars
1/25/01 Paul "I am a Columbian drug lord! Ha! Ha! Ha! I can't stop laughing! 5 stars
1/06/01 Emily i though brendan showed good comic acting, but the movie stunk. 3 stars
12/19/00 Joe Cool Yes, It does blow, but the chick looks Good!! 5 stars
12/19/00 Paulsj If you want dum fun, check it out but don`t expect too much 3 stars
11/19/00 Bob Fugate You should be watching porn films,you must have a permanent boner on. 3 stars
11/07/00 TruckGirl Pretty FLAT. 2 stars
10/31/00 Philm Phreak Brendan's good, Hurley's a babe, movie's WEAK! 3 stars
10/29/00 YOUR Movie Expert It's Analyze This meets Beetlejuice.....Very funny, but no Caddyshack, Vacation, etc. 5 stars
10/28/00 extar-bags It's not the original, but its not bad. Don't be so hard on it. 3 stars
10/28/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Rent the original, its funnier and way classier. Hurley crosses SAG picket lines, FUCK HER 1 stars
10/26/00 bart Lame with a few laughs. Elizabeth Hurley acting lessons from Joan Collins. 3 stars
10/23/00 Frode! Many funny moments, has an uneven ending 4 stars
10/23/00 fishie so so, the acting makes the movie far better. 3 stars
10/23/00 Daedalus Story and acting were weak, but overall better than most of the crap out there. 3 stars
10/23/00 Ground Zero Like Great Scott! said, suprisingly lazy, predictable and uninteresting 2 stars
10/23/00 Ken Kopin If you like "Deal with the Devil" movies, this one is great. Too short, tho. 4 stars
10/23/00 Dan Forget Affleck, Fraser is the new king of Hollywood. 5 stars
10/21/00 Pandora Mildly entertaining; the lesson in trite morality at the end was unnecessary 3 stars
10/21/00 Stuntman Hurley is great. The 2000 remake of the classic movie is badly done and terribly directed. 2 stars
10/20/00 Dan Fraser is devoid of charisma, but Hurley is surprisingly likeable. The movie is hollow tho. 2 stars
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  20-Oct-2000 (PG-13)


  25-Jan-2001 (PG)

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