Sunday, June 26, 2005

FILM: Bewitched

On the spur of the moment, we caught Bewitched this weekend (very uncharacteristic of us to catch a just-released movie), and we were certainly charmed by it. Despite the unenthusiastic reviews we'd heard, we found it to be quite enjoyable. I loved the TV show as a kid, and the movie rewards fans of the TV show with getting to see most of the favorite characters, including Uncle Arthur, Aunt Clara, and even Gladys and Abner Kravitz. But instead of just trying to remake the TV show, writer-director Nora Ephron spins the old witch-tries-to-live-the-mortal-life story in a new way, by setting it in present-day Hollywood, and making a remake of the TV series a story within the story. The device works very well to give satisfying nods to the old series, while giving us a fresh witch-meets-mortal comedic love story, and poking fun at Hollywood along the way. The classic remake problem of never being able to live up to the original is circumvented by not trying to be the original. (Devotees of the genre will also appreciate the references to Bell, Book and Candle, the classic Jimmy Stewart / Kim Novak film that inspired the TV series.) Nicole Kidman could not have been more perfect at channeling Samantha. Will Ferrell was a bit over-the-top goofy in his acting at times, but it worked, since after all he was playing an over-the-top goofy actor. Michael Caine was excellent as Nicole Kidman's warlock father, appearing in the craziest places and ways, and Shirley MacLaine was brilliant as the diva actress who plays Endora. The whole movie is a bit goofy (as was the TV series), but it satisfied my nostalgia for the show and gave us some good laughs. Good summer fun!

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