tek's rating: ½

Bewitched (PG-13)
IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Sony Pictures; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

It's been popular... I want to say in recent years, but actually probably for a long time... to make theatrical remakes of old TV shows. This one, however, is not a straightforward remake of Bewitched, but something a bit more meta. Will Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, an actor whose career is on the downswing, and who's looking for a boost by starring in a new TV series, which is a remake of the classic show "Bewitched." He's playing Darrin, and he wants to cast an unknown as Samantha. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman (who we have always quite liked) plays Isabel Bigelow, a witch who wants to give up magic and live like a normal person. Of course, this is very hard for her, in spite of her good intentions... because who could really give up magic? It makes life so much easier, doesn't it? Besides which, she's clearly very sheltered, and her understanding of what "normal people" are like is a bit... off. Making things worse, her father (played by Michael Caine) is against this decision of hers. Anyway, the main reason she's doing this is because she wants to find true love; that is, a kind of love where she can be sure a person loves her for herself, and not because she cast a spell on him (which apparently, according to this movie, witches and warlocks do pretty much constantly). More to the point, she wants someone who needs her, ergo, someone who is a completely hopeless mess.

Well, one day Jack spots Isabel, and sees her wiggle her nose, just like Samantha used to do on the old show. Because of that, he wants her to play Samantha in the remake. (I should mention she doesn't wiggle her nose to cast spells; she has a different sort of tic for that, an ear tug which puts me more in mind of Carol Burnett.) Isabel, meanwhile, has never even seen Bewitched; she wasn't allowed, as her father considered it an insult to their way of life. But once she's cast, she starts watching the show, and immediately takes a liking to the character. And of course she sees the role as a way to get closer to Jack, who she immediately realized is... a completely hopeless mess. And I don't really want to say much more about the plot; I'm leaving out most of the middle as well as the end. But Jack can be a jerk, and he can also be nice. And things are complicated by Isabel occasionally using magic, and sometimes subsequently using magic to undo the magic she did in the first place. And of course there's the question of whether Isabel should even reveal the truth about herself to Jack, and how he'll take it. (I think his reaction when he finally does learn the truth is more believable than anything you might see in a sitcom.)

Anyway... I could easily put this review in different categories, like "fantasy" or "comedy" or possibly "quirky," but I think "romance" is the best fit. There might be some disagreement as to how good a couple Jack and Isabel actually make, or whether Ferrell and Kidman have any real chemistry, but... while I found the movie funny and I enjoyed the magic and whatnot, I think in the end, these characters coming to love each other made at least a little bit more sense than Darrin and Samantha Stephens loving each other in the original show. Honestly, it's not a great movie and I probably never need to see it again, but I liked it. It was just some silly, frothy fun.


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