Review Date: June 20, 2005
Director: Nora Ephron
Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron
Producers: Lucy Fisher, Penny Marshall, Douglas Wick
Nicole Kidman as Isabel
Will Ferrell as Jack
Michael Caine as Nigel
Whilst attempting to find a woman to play the character of the witch in a remake of the classic “Bewitched” television series, the lead actor – an egotistical man who doesn’t like to share the spotlight with anyone – runs into a real-life witch, who he believes to be ideal for the part. Of course, he doesn’t know that she’s a real witch when he casts her opposite him, and needless to say, the fun is supposed to ensue soon thereafter. It does, to a certain extent, but not much more than that. Nicole Kidman acting “damn cute” ensues!
I wasn’t expecting much going into this picture as its trailers hadn’t done much for me and despite writing one of my favorite movies of all-time (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY), I have a very low tolerance for all films “Ephron”, but this movie wasn’t all that bad, as much as it wasn’t all that good. It’s basically a light, unremarkable, affable play on the comedic series from the 1960’s (God forbid anyone in Hollywood actually make a movie these days, unrelated to an old TV show or film or TV commercial, etc…), without much full-blown comedy, a few chuckles, one or two big laughs, a clever storyline and yet another impressive performance by the wildly accessible Nicole Kidman, who someway, somehow…steals scenes from the generally-very-funny, Will Ferrell. Now I’m not sure if I’m just “Ferrell’d out” or if his character in this movie just didn’t strike me as being overly humorous, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by Will here, especially when it came to anything serious or romantic between he and Kidman, with very few sparks accounted for. Kidman, on the other hand, was as adorable and radiant as ever, with an amazingly cute turn as the witch who just wants to be more human, with an infectious whisper of a voice, the extra-cuteness of her nose wiggle and her surprisingly impressive comedic skills, which actually had me laughing it up every now and again (the scene in which she shouts that line about Ferrell’s character being a “big jerk” is classic).
I only wish the film’s script had somewhere to go after its initially engaging premise that creatively sets these folks in a TV remake of the old “Bewitched” television series (ironic that even in the production within the movie, they’re still remaking shit, instead of coming up with anything original), but it doesn’t and once Kidman’s witch character is hired to “act” like a witch in the series, you pretty much just sit back and wait for the rest of the obvious pieces of the puzzle to fall into place…and they do. Nothing creative happens after the initial concept is laid out, and sadly for the audience, not much magic or romance is displayed either, as Kidman’s character is actually trying NOT to use her powers anymore (so if we’re watching a film entitled BEWITCHED and the lead witch isn’t using her witching powers…doesn’t that make the film a basic romantic comedy? – kinda like “the tree falling in the forest” thing). Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine are also tossed in for the older generation, but their characters aren’t really all that interesting, and are actually left, unresolved at the end of the picture. I’m sure I missed several “in-jokes” as well, since I’m not familiar with the original series. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend that you pay top dollar to see this remake in theaters since not much about it entertains all out, but if you appreciate Kidman and enjoyed the basic premise of the original TV show, you might want to rent it on DVD, if only, to see how indifferent you might feel about it all, once it’s over.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian