Bewitched (2005)

bewitched poster 2005 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 3/10

Good cast

The postmodern story is neither funny nor introspective

Movie Info

Movie Name: Bewitched

Studio: Red Wagon Entertainment

Genre(s): Comedy

Release Date(s): June 24, 2005

MPAA Rating: PG-13

bewitched audition nicole kidman

This is the script? Oh crap, we’re in trouble…

Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) is a movie star in need of a big hit after a big bomb and when his agent Ritchie (Jason Schwartzman) suggests being the new Darrin in a TV relaunch of Bewitched, Wyatt begrudgingly takes the role.  Though Bewitched was about Samantha Stevens, Wyatt needs the new show to be about him and casts an unknown named Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) as Samantha simply because of her ability to wiggle her nose.  Isabel has a secret herself…she is a witch, and when the witch world and world of Hollywood collide, it could be magic!

Written and directed by Nora Ephron (which additional writing by Delia Ephron), Bewitched is a post-modern comedy.  Based upon the Bewitched TV series which ran from 1964-1972, the film was released to negative reviews but a moderate box office return.  The movie won a Razzie for Worst Screen Couple (Kidman and Ferrell) with nominations for Worst Actor (Will Ferrell along with a nomination for Kicking and Screaming), Worst Director, Worst Remake or Sequel, and Worst Screenplay.

bewitched will ferrell nicole kidman

Amazingly, we lack magic

When I first heard Bewitched was being made into a movie, it was kind of a groan-worthy announcement.  Then I heard the plot of Bewitched and realized it could go two ways.  It could be a creative means to explore the series and the stereotypes surrounding women’s roles in shows like Bewitched…or it could be bad.  The bad won out over the creative.

The decision to not be a straight adaptation of Bewitched was probably a smart idea.  Bewitched was a weird quirky show that worked in the time it was made, but it was goofy and cheesy even then.  The decision to turn it into a weird half-worked version of Adaptation was an odd choice.  Ephron (who generally makes good decisions) made a bad one here and the creatively doesn’t carry the bad humor.  It also doesn’t become reflexive enough to be a commentary on the situation or the series…it just isn’t fun or creative.

bewitched michael caine gordons fisherman

Critics: “Jaws: The Revenge is Michael Caine’s worst movie”
Michael Caine: “Hold my scotch”

It is a real letdown to the talented cast.  Ferrell is Ferrell so if you like him or hate him, you still get him in his normal form.  Kidman tries to make the most of her character by being shiny and optimistic (kind of like the image she portrays in To Die For), but there is nothing else to the character.  Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine are wasted, and this does rival Caine’s Jaws:  The Revenge which was at least so-bad-it-is-good.  MacLaine, Steve Carell, and Amy Sedaris are perfect casting for their TV counterparts if nothing else.  Other actors who are wasted include Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, David Alan Grier, Richard Kind, and even a small cameo by Kate Walsh.  There are also a lot of cameo appearances by actors and TV personalities as themselves.

bewitched nicole kidman witch

It would be more excited at this point if she did turn into an evil witch

Visually, the movie also needs to take it a step forward.  If it is going to be such a stylized story, they either needed to stylize the movie or make it more real life in appearance.  The story instead goes halfway, and like the movie in general, it just seems tossed together.

I can’t blame those involved in Bewitched for being involved in Bewitched.  Remakes were big at the time and Nora Ephron generally is a solid director who brings a unique style to her pictures, but Bewitched falls flat.  It is a forgettable, unfunny film that just is loaded with comic tropes with no value.  No amount of magic can make this movie disappear.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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