Bewitched

Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman revive the 1960s US TV show, with disappointing results

Director: Nora Ephron

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Will Farrell, Michael Caine

Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/bewitched/site/

The corpus of American pop culture gets another kick with this putatively postmod update of the 1960s sitcom about a pert witch and her doofus mortal husband. The twist: Bewitched the movie doesn't remake Bewitched the show per se, instead positing a TV redo of the original in which the neurotic/narcissistic star (Will Ferrell) unwittingly casts a real witch (Nicole Kidman) to play a fictional witch and falls for her, just like the doofus he’s playing.

The movie quickly drops the deconstructionist pose in favor of thudding literal-mindedness. The big-screen Bewitched has no fun with itself, no kitschy in-joking a la The Brady Bunch or Starsky & Hutch; it's even more boxy and sitcom-like than the original (which was often amusing, if not quite the comedic holy writ it's made out to be here). Everything about the movie is perfunctory and tired, as if it can’t be bothered to reach even the usual Hollywood level of professionally machine-tooled indifference.

The script, by director/ex-funny person Nora Ephron and her sister Delia, sounds like it was whipped out in an hour over coffee. Kidman – what is she doing here? – charmlessly plays cute/dumb, Ferrell flails shrilly and everyone else, including Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine as Kidman's warlock dad and TV mom, drifts wearily through the proceedings. (Only Steve Carell, hammily channeling TV’s Paul Lynde, seems to be having a good time.) Emphasizing its own listlessness, the movie trots out some of the savvier figures in current US comedy (Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Mo Rocca) only to play them painfully straight, like they’d been cast with an unfunny-spell.

It's the only magic in evidence.

Czech Premiere: August 25th, 2005
Czech Title: Moje krásná čarodějka ("My Beautiful Witch")
Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes

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