Bewitched (2005) starring Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Heather Burns, Jim Turner, Steve Carell directed by Nora Ephron Movie Review

Bewitched (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Nicole Kidman, Shirley MacLaine and Will Ferrell in Bewitched

Season of the Bewitched

I've never seen a single episode of the TV series "Bewitched" yet I know the theme tune, I know the characters and pretty much know the set up. But that single fact that I haven't watched a single episode actually helps when watching "Bewitched" the movie as it doesn't ruin any treasured memories. Though to be honest "Bewitched" the movie is not one of those modern movie remakes rather than one which tries to conjure up a storyline around a witch and a remake of the TV series. It's not as confusing as it sounds and whilst this isn't by any sense of the words a great movie it is mildly amusing.

Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman - Malice) is a witch but she wishes she wasn't so she moves to the Valley in hoping of starting a new life for herself, a normal one. Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell - Blades of Glory) star of a couple of movie flops is trying to resurrect his career and is about to star in a remake of 60s sitcom "Bewitched" except because of his inflated ego he wants an unknown to appear opposite him as Samantha. When he accidentally bumps into Isabel and spots her twitching her nose he talks her into being his Samantha but things don't go smoothly when Isabel realises that Jack has been lying to her and has to try and control the temptation to use witchcraft on him.

Shirley MacLaine and Nicole Kidman in Bewitched

So the actual concept to "Bewitched" the movie is quite good with an actual witch finding themselves cast in a proposed remake of the classic TV series and whilst the witch wants to be normal finds it very difficult when she has such an arrogant and self centred co-star. I have to say it's a clever idea, much better than the current trend for trying to adapt old TV shows into movies which more often or not fail. It allows for some obvious but amusing scenes about life imitating art as Isabel finds it hard to resist using witchcraft especially with the almost goading of her father, whilst playing the character in the show.

That side of "Bewitched" is good and makes you smile although it sort of loses the plot as the romance between Isabel and Jack takes centre stage. And that leads to the biggest problem as it just doesn't know when enough is enough. You get one perfect point for the movie to end but yet it throws in a limp twist and prolongs things even further and as such it weakens the enjoyment factor. You get sort of lost by the fact that director Nora Ephron wants to throw in as many tie ins to the original series as possible even if it goes off on tangents into the realms of the ridiculous.

And this prolonging the ending also ends up affecting the writing as whilst the first half is genuinely funny the second seems poor in comparison. It doesn't help that half way through we have Will Ferrell's character Jack becoming a complete ego maniac and the over the top dramatics from Ferrell are not funny. In fact Ferrell is surprisingly charming in the more family friendly comedy moments but ruins it with crass over the top humour which reaches a climax when his character runs around on a TV show naked with his privates pixilated, which to be honest is a scene which feels completely out of place in the easy going nature of "Bewitched".

Where "Bewitched" works best is when it's just trying to be sweet and the casting of Nicole Kidman as Isabel works well in this context. She is as cute as a button especially when imitating Samantha with all the nose twitching. Although she seems to suffer a crisis of character as the movie floats off on a tangent. And whilst the likes of Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine might be deemed to be slumming it in such a lightweight comedy piece they both make the most of their roles with Caine delivering plenty of amusement as Isabel's father with a wayward eye.

But strangely it is the supporting performances which made it for me with Jason Schwartzman being highly amusing in a Tom Cruise impersonation sort of way. And then there is Steve Carrell who only has a real small part but at times he brings the character of Uncle Arthur back to the screen just as if Paul Lynde was still alive.

What this all boils down to is that "Bewitched" is for the most amusing in a very easy going manner. It does lose its way about half way through and doesn't know when to end but it has plenty of moments which will make you smile. The best thing about it is the concept and if only more movies would try and do something similar rather than just remaking old TV series and turning them into movies then maybe we would finally get a good one.