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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Winter, 2005

Bewitched movie review

Maybe Magic

Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is a young woman who just wants to be normal, and that's not easy with a father like hers (Michael Caine). A warlock with strong opinions about free love and practicing witchcraft. He believes in them. But Isabel wants to have friends and angst-ridden coffee meetings and love.

Mortal love. In fact, she's looking for a man who's a complete mess.

Enter actor Jack Wyatt. He's a man with career problems who plans to resurrect them by recreating the role of Darren in a remake of the television series Bewitched.

Movie poster, Bewitched; Festivale film review

Movie poster, Bewitched; Festivale film review

Be warned. Be ready.

He's looking for an unknown to fade dotingly into the background while he turns Bewitched into a Jackfest. And he finds her twitching her nose adorably in a book shop.

Now Isabel is in a quandary. She has a job, as an actress, performing in a show her parents wouldn't let her watch as a child, and she's about to find out that Jack isn't just a mess, he's a bit of a selfish brat. Good thing she's really a witch, and those intentions to eschew witchcraft can be put on hold for one really good spell.

Yes, it's an interesting idea. Remaking Bewitched by making a film about remaking Bewitched. It allows for the fact that Bewitched has such an entrenched place in western cultures. It's fun, but the Nora and Delia Ephron script falls over its feet in a few places.

First, foremost and overwhelmingly the film is made annoying by a bizarre breathless vocal delivery. What were director Ephron and actor Kidman thinking. It is ANNOYING. AMAZINGLY, @##@* ANNOYING. It's hard to hear an actress's lines when her voice makes one cringe so hard one's shoulders are covering one's ears in self-defence. ARGH!

Then, we accept the premise. Isabel's really a witch who coincidentally is putting witchcraft aside. Okay. She accidentally wins the role of Samantha in Bewitched. Yep, still with you. Aunt Clara falls down Isabel's chimney with a rain of doorknob behind her. WHAT?

Suddenly the show is producing 'real' characters into Isabel and Jack's lives. Now, you might, in fairness, say this is a spoiler, but SO IS THE SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT. What was a charming conceit becomes a messy conglomeration of attempts to throw everything into the script pot. Too many different ingredients spoils the best meal. In this case, the film, er, loses the plot.

Interesting idea, promising cast, terrible execution. Only for the curious.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 7 July 2005
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: Bewitched (2005)
Written by: Sol Saks (original series), Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron
Directed by: Nora Ephron
running time:

The Players: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Michael Badalucco, Shirley Maclaine

Official website:
IMDb entry

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