Cast: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Heather Burns, Jim Turner, Stephen Colbert, Carole Shelley, Steve Carell, Amy Sedaris, Richard Kind
Director: Nora Ephron
Screenplay: Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG mild sexual references, mild coarse language, mild themes
Running Time: 102 Minutes

Be Warned. Be Ready.

Out in California's San Fernando Valley, Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), is trying to reinvent herself. A naive, good-natured witch, she is determined to disavow her supernatural powers and lead a "normal" life.

At the same time, across town, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) a tall, charming actor is trying to get his career back on track. He sets his sights on an updated version of the beloved 1960's situation comedy "Bewitched," reconceived as a starring vehicle for himself in the role of the mere-mortal Darrin.

Fate steps in when Jack accidentally runs into Isabel. He is immediately attracted to her and her nose, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the nose of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in the original TV version of "Bewitched." He becomes convinced she could play the witch Samantha in his new series.

Isabel is also taken with Jack, seeing him as the quintessential mortal man with whom she can settle down and lead the normal life she so desires.

It turns out they're both right - but in ways neither of them ever imagined.

My Verdict:
Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), is a witch who wants to lead a 'normal' life and chooses Hollywood to try her luck at normality, struggling to assure her father (Michael Caine) that it is possible, including finding real love, without having to resort to witchcraft. Meanwhile, the egotistical actor, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) has had a few movies flop and is looking for a big break and hopes that reviving the television series "Bewitched" should fix that, providing he can find a Samantha that is an unknown so that he can't be upstaged.

Jack stumbles upon Isabel and convinces her to join the cast of 'Bewitched', not the least for her remarkable resemblance to the original Samantha, but also for her ability to twitch her nose exactly right. As the production progresses, Isabel discovers she is being used and relents and uses her witchcraft to cast a few spells and make changes to her life and to Jack's. No prizes for guessing that Jack and Isabel eventually sort out their various problems and end up together.

The biggest problem with 'Bewitched' is the meandering script - it heads in different directions, never really settles and then is quickly wound up in a predicable conclusion. There are plenty of references and footage from the television series throughout but knowledge of the series isn't really necessary, although some characters re-appear here (Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur).

There are a few too many bitsy players whose characters are never developed enough. Two classic examples of this are Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine (Endora) who are both completely underused and their immense talent is totally wasted.

Nicole Kidman is ok as the naïve Isabel, but has a sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-nice voice, which was a little too much. No explanation is given for the reason as to why Isabel wants to start a 'new' life so accepting this is tough, but she does get to do some magic which has its fun moments, the best being when Jack as Darren has to speak at a dinner party about his dog. This scene really highlights Ferrell's talent and is at least one of the few redeeming moments.

Will Ferrell gets the majority of the decent lines and also displays his visual comedic skills with some intentionally pathetic faces, walks and dances. He is what keeps the movie going and the most anticipated character to appear on the screen. It's just as well Ferrell is in 'Bewitched' because without him this movie falters and is just not bewitching at all.

Rating : **

Christina Bruce


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