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Bewitched - Review

Bewitched

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary By Nora Ephron; Witch Vision Trivia Track; Deleted Scenes; Featurettes; Bewitched Trivia Game

TAKEN on its own terms, Bewitched is a mildly entertaining contemporary version of the popular television series that ran from 1964 to 1972. But fans of the original might still be asking ‘why did they bother’?

The film attempts to update the series by casting Will Ferrell as a desperate actor, Jack Wyatt, who attempts to revive his ailing career by starring in a revival of the television show, Bewitched.

Being self-centred, Wyatt intends to make the Darrin Stephens role the focal point of the show, reducing the Samantha Stephens character (and the focus of the original) to a bit-part player.

As a result, he hires Nicole Kidman’s unknown Isabel Bigelow to play alongside him, having been impressed with her nose twitching ability in a book store on Sunset Strip.

The twist is that Isabel is actually a witch in real life who, upon discovering Jack’s plan, casts a spell on the actor that threatens to turn him into an even bigger laughing stock than he already is!

Nora Ephron’s movie is therefore a remake that attempts to do something a little bit different, rather than merely re-treading obvious territory.

Sadly, it is only partially successful, beginning as a spiky battle of the sexes, before veering into an unlikely romantic comedy.

Early on, the nods to the original series are frequent and clever, while the banter between Ferrell and Kidman is quite magical.

Michael Caine also crops up as Kidman’s womanising father, while the ever-excellent Shirley MacLaine seems to be having a blast as a fellow actress playing Samantha’s television mother.

But having established an intriguing scenario, Ephron attempts to cast a spell of a different kind that transforms the movie from enjoyable to awkward.

Ferrrell and Kidman look mis-matched and lack any real chemistry, while the plot becomes contrived and predictable – a failing that is sure to annoy fans of the original series even more.

Had it opted to keep things funny and frosty the film might have worked better as a whole; as things stand, it provides a frustrating night out at the movies that could really do with a love potion of its own.