Sweet, Charming, Magical, Underappreciated Romantic Comedy
Monty Moonlight | TX | 04/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No, it's not a bigscreen remake of the original 1960's/70's television series, and that's most likely the main reason 2005's "Bewitched" was not well received. Determined to avoid simply making a bigscreen version of the beloved television classic, the filmmakers here have actually created something rather original and just as entertaining while still staying true to the show's basic theme. A lovely young woman, who happens to also be a witch, does her best to give up her magical ways in order to find a nice but incomplete young man and settle down to a normal life. However, her introduction to suburban normalcy is shaken up when she meets a falling movie-star named Jack Wyatt in search of an unknown to play opposite himself in a new television revival of "Bewitched". Little does he know that Isabel Bigelow, the young lady in question, is a real witch. All he cares about is that she can wiggle her nose just like the original Samantha and also happens to look a lot like her. In need of a job and thinking Jack might be the perfect man for her, Isabel is talked into taking the role not knowing that Jack intends to make the show all about Darrin this time around. As one might expect, the spells begin to fly as Isabel attempts to earn her due respect and appreciation on the "Bewitched" set and in Jack's heart. And things really get crazy when the TV show characters begin to enter the real world to make sure everything works out right!
Nicole Kidman stars as Isabel, the woman cast to play Samantha on the new "Bewitched", and she is absolutely adorable in this film. Love the bouncy hair and sweetheart personality; never more attractive! Will Ferrell is always enjoyable, here playing the role of oft-misled but good-at-heart Jack Wyatt, though this isn't a film that is all about him. It's totally a shared billing, and why audiences didn't see chemistry in this pair is beyond me. They are fantastic together, and this is a film with just a great cast over all. Sir Michael Caine plays Isabel's warlock father, Nigel, Shirley MacLaine is Iris, the actress cast as the new Endora, and Steve Carell pops in to play a magical incarnation of Uncle Arthur, just to name a few! It's a very sweet film that is loads of fun if you can get past that whiney insistence that a "Bewitched" movie has to be a remake. Don't get me wrong, I understand the desire for such a film, even if Director Nora Ephron didn't. Seeing updated, big budget, bigscreen versions of TV shows we loved in the past is great fun! The old talk about a feature starring Alicia Silverstone as Samantha and Jim Carrey as Darrin probably had a lot of people excited. I wanted to see that too, and Crispin Glover also would have made a great Darrin. Never would have thought about Will Ferrell, but since he's not REALLY Darrin here, it works, and Nicole Kidman probably really would have been a perfect choice for Samantha. Here, her personality is much more sweet and innocent, but then she isn't exactly playing Samantha and it's perfect for who she IS playing. The existing "Bewitched" movie took the subject matter and did something original with it, and it turned out wonderful, even if I would have loved to have seen a big budget take on the old show. If I were going to pick on anything, it would be the minimized and tardy explanation of the TV characters merging with the real world. Despite Uncle Arthur's exclamation, "Do I have to explain everything?!" the set up of actors portraying the old TV characters, but with real similarities, makes things confusing if you start bringing in the real characters without much explanation. I think this only doesn't bother me now because I have watched the film enough times, and all the bonus features, to be clear on it, but I can easily see how it would be an issue for many casual viewers. It's just a matter of paying better attention though, and doing a little open-minded/imaginative thinking, and it certainly adds to the fun. Another thing that adds to the fun are several excellent music selections! I even loved hearing Louis Armstrong singing Disney's "'Bout Time" in the closing credits!
The DVD is great, with excellent widescreen picture, a fine director's commentary, deleted scenes and multiple featurettes, a trivia track (though you have to be a fast reader for this one), and a trivia game for fans of the original series. So, if you're interested in checking out a romantic comedy with a lot of magic and TV nostalgia, I highly recommend picking this one up! And especially if you're a fan of any of the stars! I'm not a hardcore Kidman fan, but she is a complete delight here, and particularly gorgeous!