Publicity Stills of "Bewitched"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Photo by: John Bramley

Photo by: John Bramley

Genre: Comedy/Fantasy
Director: Nora Ephron
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Kristen Chenoweth, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Carell
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 9 August 2005 (With SNEAKS after 5pm on 8th August)

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In this re-imagining of the magical 1960s sitcom, Will Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, a difficult Hollywood star who tries to have a career comeback by playing Darrin Stephens in a big-screen version of the classic TV series. When Jack sees the beautiful Isabel Bigelow, (Nicole Kidman), he thinks that she'd be right for the part of his on-screen wife, Samantha. What he doesn't know is that Isabel really is a witch, which actually makes her a perfect casting choice for the role. Isabel's father Nigel (Michael Caine) is concerned by his daughter's interest in the mortal world, until he's distracted by Iris Smythson (Shirley MacLaine), the movie star who'll be playing Samantha's mother Endora in the film.

Movie Review:

Basically, you can define “remakes” as both tricky and at the same time, easy to make. The latter being in the event of brain-blocked, there’s always the source material to refer to. However, remakes can also be potential duds in the case of “Mod Squad”. Once you missed your footing and that’s the end of any lucrative box-office receipts.

The ideal situation of course is to strike a balance between the new and the old. Fusion new elements without abandoning the familiar tastes. “Charlie Angels” and “The Addams Family” being the few who had successfully crossover from its TV series origin to the silver screen.

With “Bewitched”, Director Nora Ephron who is famous for such sweet romance outings such as “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You got mail” played it safe by casting the elegant, gorgeous Nicole Kidman as the nose twitching witch and pairing her up with funnyman, Will Ferrell.

You might ask so what’s new? Well, Nora and her screenwriter sister, Delia decides to inject a “movie within a movie” technique instead of simply putting Kidman and Ferrell in the shoes of Samantha and mere-mortal Darrin. They had the leads playing dual roles. Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, a down and out actor trying to revive his flagging career by starring in the remake of the 60’s TV series, “Bewitched”. In comes a real witch, Isabel (Kidman) who is shedding her origins to commence life as a normal, person racking their brains at Coffee Bean trying to solve their daily problems or so she claims. When Jack talent spotted Isabel for the role of Samantha in a bookshop, romance starts to seep in. And as any Ephron’s movies, the two leads somehow managed to fall in love in the midst of any bizarre circumstances surrounding them.

Nicole Kidman is faultless in her witch’s role, the lady simply looks ravishingly attractive whenever she appears on screen. It’s refreshing to see her twitching her nose and pulling her ears to unleash her magic powers. Apparently, she’s not just capable in heavyweight dramas such as “The Hours” and “Dogville”. Ferrell on the other hand is a restrained wild monkey (Pardon for the less than kindly metaphor) opposite Kidman. His wackiness and outrageous antics as compared to his outings in “Old School”, “Elf” and even cameo in “Starsky and Hutch” pales in comparison to her performance. Pathetically overshadowed by his dazzling co-star, his jokes and wild gesticulations looks over the top and out of place at times. Old timers Michael Caine (who plays Isabel’s father) and Shirley MacLaine shines in their limited screen time. It’s a pity that the hilarious subplot involving Caine and MacLaine’s romance are pretty much left out in the end. Watch out for Caine’s transfiguration on cans of groceries in the supermarket sequence that will leave you in stitches.

Coupled with some classic love songs liked Frank Sinatra’s “Witchcraft”, “Bewitched” plays along like an old-fashioned romance movie. Never mind the fact that it’s supposed to be a remake but unfortunately lacked the slightest hint of the original series where everything seem to be a lot simpler and magical. More likely, you will remember Samantha’s nose twitching antics more than anything else after the credits rolled. If you seriously can’t enough of the past TV series, Hollywood still have the remakes of “Knight Rider”, “I dream of Jeannie” in the pipeline.

Movie Rating:

(Samantha’s nose twitching and ear-pulling antics are far more charming than anything else especially in the opening)

Review by Linus Tee

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