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June 05, 2005 - Image 13

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-06-05

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 13
Charming 'Bewitched'
fails to live up to original

By lmran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
The original "Bewitched" had just the right
combination of romance, comedy and wit to
make audiences forget about their Watergates,
assassinations and moon land-
ings. Elizabeth Montgomery B t
and Dick York (later Dick Bewitched
Sargent) had all the magic At the Showcase
America needed. Columbia's and Quality 16
new big-screen adaptation Columbia
of "Bewitched" inevitably
falls short of living up to the
splendor of the original, but it's a commendable
romantic comedy in its own right, with enough
humor and charm to briefly entertain.
The first thing to remember about the big-
screen version of "Bewitched" is that it's not a
remake of the original but rather a loose adap-
tation. It features Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell,
"Anchorman"), a washed-up actor who agrees

to do a remake of the TV show to get his
career out of the sewer. Hoping to make him-
self look good, he seeks out an unknown to
co-star as Samantha and finds the seemingly
perfect fit in Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman,
"The Stepford Wives"). Little does poor Mr.
Wyatt know how perfect of a fit Isabel really
is - that in reality, she is a witch looking to
fit in, just like Samantha.
The film moves along rather well and has
a certain light-hearted charm that elevates it
above other recent movies of its genre (see "A
Lot Like Love" and "Monster in Law"). Kid-
man for her part is excellent, emitting perfect-
ly the aura of an outsider who wants to belong.
Her relationship to her Warlock father, Nigel
Bigelow (Michael Caine, "The Cider House
Rules"), though somewhat underdeveloped,
is a functional lens for viewing her personal
struggle. Ferrell plays the part of a self-cen-
tered actor well, occasionally cutting loose
with his chubby, overdeveloped humor.
"Bewitched" is directed by Norah Ephron
and written by her sister, Delia, the team behind

"Is that is Thomas Pynchon novel in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?"
the watershed romantic comedy -"You've Got than Kidman and Ferrell manage while danc-
Mail." Above all, they are known for the ing cheek-to-cheek.
simple charm and wit seamlessly infused What's more, Ferrell is unable to handle the
into otherwise mundane situations, resulting many quiet, private moments of the film. Ask-
in light-hearted but often insightful humor. ing him to live up to the standard left by Hanks
Unfortunately, little of this trickled down to is unfair, but he doesn't even approach a level of
"Bewitched." The Ephrons previously had the believability in his love for Isabel. "Bewitched"
privilege of working with the unbeatable duo is a film that most people will enjoy in the
of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, a pair who radi- moment, but over time, they'll find that the
ated more chemistry buying fruit on the street enjoyment slips away like pixie dust.

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