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Bedazzled (2000)

Meet the Devil. She’s giving Elliott seven wishes. But not a chance in Hell.

Directed by:

Harold Ramis

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 93 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

Collecting plaudits for remaking an already popular flick from the past is always going to be an uphill struggle, particularly in the case of ‘Bedazzled’. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, who wrote and performed the original, will always be fondly remembered as comedy greats. It’s safe to assume Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley won’t be.

Mind you, Fraser does display a surprising comic knack in the various guises and personality shifts he’s asked to play out. Perhaps, if Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy ever fall simultaneously ill, he might even have a niche in the market for himself. He certainly looks more at home playing an out-and-out doofus than he does as the unconvincing hero of the ‘Mummy’ movies.

Fraser plays Elliot Richards, the irksome office git who gets the chance to try out a few different lifestyles thanks to a pact he’s formed with the devil (Hurley). It seems a simple deal: he gets seven wishes, she gets his soul. Of course, his wishes for fame, fortune, power, popularity and the girl of his dreams (Frances O’Connor) don’t quite go to plan, and he ends up wondering if entering into a contract with Beelzebub was such a good idea after all.

It’s unashamedly lightweight stuff from director Harold Ramis, who has brought us much better in the past with the likes of ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’. But ‘Bedazzled’ also has a reasonable number of titter-worthy moments among its sketch-like production, such as when Fraser gets to play a super-sensitive dolphin-lover.

Hurley, meanwhile, does her job – which basically involves standing around in various states of undress and trying to look wicked. It has to be said, though, that this incarnation of the devil isn’t particularly devilish. A little mischievous, perhaps, but I’d hardly have thought that would be qualification enough to land the job of grand high ruler of all things evil. It’s no wonder Elliot never seems especially bothered about the prospect of letting her have his soul.

It's Got: Some decent laughs and a better-than-average-looking Devil.

It Needs: A stronger plot to stop viewer interest from waning.

DVD Extras Two deleted scenes (‘Basketball Game’ and ‘Rock Star’), audio commentary, two featurettes (‘Making of Bedazzled’ and ‘Bedazzling Signs’), behind-the-scenes stuff, theatrical trailer, TV spots, and a stills gallery. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Bedazzled (1967)

Summary

A watchable and sporadically funny comedy, with a decent comic turn from Brendan Fraser but little to drag it above the average.

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