Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine Michael Caine
Director: Nora Ephron
Could anything actually be worse than a remake of a beloved TV series? What about a remake that’s actually a reinvention? Sounds like sacrilege doesn’t it? Well surprise, surprise! This film – compliments of Nora Ephron who also co-wrote this screenplay and whose other directing/writing credits include SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and YOU’VE GOT MAIL – is not as good as the series but it is not that bad either. It’s a tragic case of a hybrid film that tries too hard to do too much instead of simply being an old fashioned romantic comedy.
Nicole Kidman plays a delightfully naïve witch called Isabel who steps out into our everyday world inhabited by us mere mortals and she literally falls for a declining star called Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell). Jack needs Isabel to star alongside him in his comeback bid, and it just so happens that he wants her to play the character of Samantha, a witch in his new TV series called ‘Bewitched’, a remake of the old series.
Under a delusion, she thinks that he needs her because he wants to be with her. The truth is in fact that he just thinks that she’s got the right nose for the job, and she’s an unknown so she won’t be able to hamper his comeback. Woe unto he who dares to piss off a witch… and soon enough once she finds out just what his true intentions are, she gives him much more than just a piece of her mind.
Will Ferrell steals the show but Nicole at least seems very happy playing an uncomplicated character for a change. Unfortunately Michael Caine and Shirley McClaine are not really put to any good use, but watch out for the show-stopping cameo by Steve Carell (of THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN).
So in a nutshell, this isn’t a great movie but it’s pleasant and fun. I couldn’t help but think that if only Nicole’s character had been modelled more on the actual witch from the original BEWITCHED TV series and not on Meg Ryan then maybe just maybe a much stronger spell might have been cast over this reviewer.