Bedazzled (2000) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated:PG-13 for sexual humor, drug content, and language
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O'Connor, Miriam Shor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein, Toby Huss, Gabriel Casseus, Brian Doyle-Murray
Director: Harold Ramis
Screenplay: Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan (based on the 1967 film, written by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore)
Review published October 22, 2000
I've yet to see the 1967 original Dudley Moore comedy of the same name, but I don't think I'll need to compare the two. Bedazzled is a story that has been countless times before, from Faust onward.
This incarnation stars Brendan Fraser (The Mummy, Blast from the Past) as Elliot Richardson, a geeky computer nerd without many friends and even less of a romantic life. He has a crush on Alison (O'Connor, AI), a young woman that works in his office who pays him no attention. Elliot desperately wishes he could make her notice him somehow, and hopefully fall in love with him. He gets his chance when the Devil herself appears (Hurley, The Spy Who Shagged Me) and offers to grant the loser seven wishes in return for his soul. Fame, fortune, being the envy of others -- it's all at his bidding now, including Allison. Too bad making the wishes work out prove harder than expected.
Even if it derivative at its core, Bedazzled is still a fun film for those willing to go with the highly fantastic premise. Director Harold Ramis, coming off of his largely successful Analyze This, supercharges the entire production with an energy that will have you laughing at the sheer audacity with which each wish plays out. Fraser and Hurley also deliver memorably funny performances, while the script is full of clever moments and well-conceived situations.
The only things that keeps Bedazzled from being a truly good film are the superficiality of the characters and all-too familiar plot. Also, the fact that Elliot only seems to like Allison for her looks leads one to not really care whether or not he ultimately ends up with the woman he so desires, and the ending of the film only confirms this lack of emotional depth.
Still, the raw energy and pull-out-all-stops fun will have you smiling most of the way, and for this alone, Bedazzled earns a recommendation as an entertaining escapist comedy.
©2000 Vince Leo