To put it simply, this film is unwatchable. How the hell Columbia studio execs allowed a mess like this to be made is beyond me. Was everyone at the studio asleep while this film was in production? As far as I know, Nora Ephron does not have final cut so there is no reason why the studio couldn’t and shouldn’t have pulled the plug on Bewitched. What amazes me even more is that Nora Ephron, the famous and respected screenwriter of When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, and the recent Julie & Julia, allowed herself to write and direct this piece of shit. Moreover, the path of destruction this movie leaves with the star-studded cast it has is astounding (Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Stephen Colbert, and Steve Carell). I’d like to think these talented actors were all wondering during production what the fuck they signed themselves up for.

Bewitched is not really a remake of the classic TV series, but really a deconstruction of the TV show. Nicole Kidman plays a witch named Isabel who has decided to live life as a normal person in Los Angeles. Will Ferrell plays washed up movie star, Jack Wyatt, who decides to star as Darin in the TV series remake of Bewitched. In the process of finding the show’s Samantha, Jack discovers Isabel in a bookstore and notices her wrinkling her nose exactly as Samantha did in the TV show. He convinces Isabel to star in the show and the two begin production of the series. The rest of the film basically involves Isabel falling in love with Jack and Jack finding out she is a real witch. Lame, I know.

Ever since she made The Hours, Nicole Kidman can’t seem to get a break from the string of unsuccessful films she seems to get stuck making. Bewitched is arguably her worst film to date. I couldn’t quite figure out whether she is supposed to play her character as a dimwitted idiot or as a naive, innocent girl next door. Kidman is a fine actress, but you wouldn’t know that by watching this movie.

I suspect Will Ferrell had a lot of say in how his character was to be developed. Ferrell does his usual, now-tired zany schtick, which for a romantic-comedy it fails miserably in creating any chemistry between he and Kidman. First, the Jack Wyatt character is a total asshole who in the course of the film suddenly turns into a charming, nice man who falls in love with Isabel. Second, the crazy antics and comedic outbursts are way out of place for a movie like this and Ferrell comes off as simply being crazy instead of being a funny, charming leading man.

I felt very sorry for Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine being in this movie. I’m sure they each got paid a lot of money to be in Bewitched, but what a waste of talent to put them here. They worked with what they had and they delivered serviceable performances, but its practically an insult to cast actors of their caliber only to underutilize them in this way.

The film has many logical inconsistencies, but I had already reached a point in the movie where I no longer gave a shit. For example, how is it that a neighbor and a production assistant so readily accept Isabel being a witch? It is also obvious Nora Ephron has been out of touch with reality for quite some time. How often do you see or hear about some random stranger being picked out of a bookstore to star in a TV show? I understand the entire premise of the film is meant to be fantastical and whimsical, but that doesn’t excuse sloppy writing, which is abundant here.

I won’t waste too much of your time or mine exploring the deficiencies of this dreck. Bewitched was an expensive misfire for the studio and the principals involved. Rather than make a straight-up remake of the TV series, Ephron decided to get clever and create a story within a story. Her idea was not entirely bad, but its execution made me wonder how much crack she smoked while writing the screenplay.

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