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Comedy Movies - Bewitched - Will Ferrel and Nicole Kidman

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Bewitched
Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine
Directed by Nora Ephron
Sony Pictures Home Video 2005
102 minutes

2005 is the year where Hollywood went to television remakes to create its summer releases. Bewitched, featuring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, like most summer releases, did not fare that well.  As a DVD comedy it does pretty well. This is a nice little comedy that is fun to watch, quickly forgotten, but you never get the feeling you wasted your time. This funny little movie is not perfect but it works its . . . magic.

Kidman plays Isabel Bigelow, a real life witch who wishes to be a normal person but lands the role of Samantha in the TV remake of Bewitched. Will Ferrel is Jack Wyatt, a Hollywood movie actor whose star is waning and who ends up playing Darrin. The idea of a remake movie that has as a plot the remake of a TV show is quite neat and, for the most part works. The conflict between Isabel and egotistical movie star Jack is quite funny. 

The movie slowly starts to lose its originality when Jack and Isabel fall in love. It jumps the shark when Ephron decides to have a Paul Lynde impersonator, Steve Carell, play Uncle Arthur, but this is in the last few minutes of the movie so it is not so bad.

Michael Caine gives a journeyman performance as Samantha's dad and Shirley MacLaine is underused as actress Iris Smythson who is hired to play Endora. 

The frustrating thing about this comedy is you know it could have been so much better: Isabel's neighbor and her assistant are good secondary characters who are underused, the Aunt Clara character, played by Carole Shelley, had so much more to offer, and the TV show remake could have been used more.

The main problem with Bewitched is writer / director Nora Ephron. The script is good for most of the movie and then you get the feeling she threw a formulaic ending just to be able to start filming. 

Both Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell give good yet uneven performances that a good director would have tightened. Kidman slips in and out of a breathless Marilyn Monroe type voice for no real reason for example while some of Ferrell's manic energy is sometimes one take short of perfect

Still, there are many very humorous moments, quite a few clever ideas, and a couple of laugh out loud scenes in Bewitched so the overall result is a pleasant comedy.

Extras on the DVD release include deleted scenes, your usual very mundane director's commentary (the commentary is mundane, then again, Ephron is a mundane director too), a Witch Vision Trivia Track (like those pop up video things) that is interesting but overused and gets in the way, and a neat thirty question trivia game about the original series



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