Practical Magic (1998) / Comedy-Fantasy

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some violence, intense thematic elements and sensuality
Running Time: 104 min.

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Aidan Quinn, Goran Visnjic
Director: Griffin Dunne
Screenplay: Robin Swicord, Akiva Goldsman, Adam Brooks (based on the novel by Alice Hoffman)

Review published January 3, 1999

The ladies in the Owens' family have one thing in common: they are witches with their own affinity for magic. Unfortunately they are also cursed. Any man they fall in love with will ultimately die shortly thereafter.

The mother of Sally (Bullock, Hope Floats) and Gillian (Kidman, Batman Forever) met a man who died soon after they were born, and later their own mother also died of a broken heart. The two sisters were raised by their two aunts, who tried to instill a love of magic within them. Gillian takes to it readily, wanting a man, but Sally refuses and wants to never have anything to do with them and to avoid her own broken heart. Ironically, upon becoming adults, Sally meets and falls in love with a man and soon marries, while Gillian goes from man to man, never falling in love with any.

A likeable if unremarkable light comedy, with good performances by all and beautifully designed sets and costume design. It's easy on the eyes, and not too complicated for the brain. Breezy, easy-going entertainment but nothing special.

Griffin Dunne (Lisa Picard is Famous, The Accidental Husband) does a nice job visually, and gets good performances from his actors, but the film is hindered by not really having any set point-of-view and a sloppy plotting structure. Had the screenwriters developed a plot with a build-up to an ultimate climax with some passion and thoughtfulness, this movie would have been much better than a collection of mildly amusing moments. Strictly cotton candy material...tasty but not very filling.

Qwipster's rating:

1999 Vince Leo