Loosely based on the 1967 British movie of the same name, Bedazzled has some funny moments then resorts to melodramatic life lessons near the end. Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle, The Mummy) stars as a socially inept customer service worker named Elliot Richards while Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers) vamps across the screen in several different costumes as the “evil” Devil.
After a great fast motion opening sequence and necessary introduction to Elliot’s personal traits and lifestyle, director Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day) “cues” Hurley’s entrance (set to the song “Wild Thing” by Tone-Loc) who then pitches Elliot with a “simple decision that will change your life forever.”
The story then goes into cruise control as Elliot’s decision allows him seven wishes in life. These wishes put Elliot in altered states in various settings as Hurley pops in occasionally at key moments with great lines like “most men think they’re God, this one just happens to be right.”
Elliot’s co-workers, including Dan (Orlando Jones), and love interest Alison (Frances O’Connor) also get in on the act in multiple roles. Interesting tidbits about Fermat’s Last Theorem (look carefully on the chalkboard) and a long fantasy sequence spoken almost entirely in Spanish boost the movie’s overall appeal and Fraser gives some great comedic performances even though his multiple characters are based on social stereotypes.
As Elliot tries so hard to fit into his ideal lifestyles and the perceptions that go along with them, he realizes what he truly wants out of life. “Wishing just doesn’t work”, Elliot says after consistent complications with all of his fantastical experiences.
These melodramatic scenes slow down the pace of the movie but convey some lessons you can relate to in your own life. The Devil continues to create havoc in the real world and Elliot’s world as a new character advises Elliot on how to solve his problems in the movie’s climax.
This average fantasy/comedy gets a recommendation with reservations (** out of four stars) from this reviewer and has an anemic run time of one hour and 33 minutes. The PG-13 rating was probably made to gain a more adult audience (mostly likely to gawk at the lovely Hurley) but there are numerous sexual innuendos, locker room jokes about physical “attributes”, and some stereotypical scenes involving illegal drugs. A fun, no-brainer full of physical comedy and spoof, especially the basketball sequence, with appealing leads and some good lessons for a materialistic world.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler