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The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Three beautiful women, one lucky Devil

Directed by:

George Miller

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 121 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United States

You might have seen Al Pacino playing Satan in ‘Devil’s Advocate’, all slick confidence in a three-piece suit, using his words and his powers to get everything he wants and playing with the minds and the lives of all those around him. Jack Nicholson plays the same guy in ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ – only he has a Helluva lot more fun.

Under the disguise of the suspiciously-wealthy Daryl Van Horne, he rolls up in the New England town of Eastwick, a ne’er-do-well if ever there was one. But he’s not just there on his holi-bobs, oh no. He’s been summoned. Summoned by three bored, occult-dabbling housewives in the not entirely unpleasant form of Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer (although watching this, originating as it does from way back in 1987, you start to wonder if there was ever a point in her life when Cher HADN’T had a bit of the old plastic surgery).

As you might expect, the four of them have their fun for a while, but before long tongues start wagging, Jack grows increasingly unhinged (as frothing man-demons have a tendency to do), and it looks like the honeymoon period is well and truly over. Time, it seems, for the girlies to take matters into their own hands and put things back the way they were.

George Miller, director of the ‘Mad Max’ movies, does a good job of bringing to life the fantastical novel by John Updike. It’s a tricky task, as it doesn’t exactly seem like the sort of material that would transfer well from the page to the screen, but this is an accomplished work with some gleefully nasty dark humour and good performances all round.

Sure, it’s hit and miss in places, and the special effects have undeniably dated a bit (particularly during the wickedly exhilarating climax, which amounts to the spell-casting equivalent of the heroines burning their bras), but if you’re in the mood for something naughty and nice at the same time, this should be just the ticket.

It's Got: Crazy tennis and Nessun Dorma.

It Needs: No snarling in the back row!

DVD Extras Cast and crew details, ‘Conjuring Eastwick’, ‘A Bewitching Look Back’, self-congratulating info on the awards it’s won, and a theatrical trailer. Sounds good on the face of it, but be warned – apart from the trailer, it’s all stuff you have to read off the screen, and there’s not a proper featurette in sight. A major disappointment. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Wolf

Summary

A cauldron-full of fun.

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