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Elliott (Brendan Fraser)
The devil (Elizabeth Hurley)
Alison (Frances O’Connor)
Dan (Orlando Jones)

Directed by Harold Ramis Written by Harold Ramis, Larry Gelbart and Peter Tolan

Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor, language and some drug content Running Time: 93 minutes Distributed by 20th Century Fox
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Bedazzled is an average comedy that his some good moments. Elliot Richards (Fraser) is a lonely computer programmer that resides in San Francisco. He believes that his co-workers are his friends, but there not. The circle of co-workers that Elliot is outside of, continously try to avoid him and always make fun of his attempts to get into their crowd. Alison (O’ Connor) works for the same company as Elliot and he has been in love with her for the last four years, even though she has never laid eyes on him. A mysterious and beautiful woman (Hurley) then approaches Elliot and tells him that she can give him everything and anything that he has every wanted. Elliott confusingly asks the woman who she is and she replies, “I’m the devil.” Unconvinced at first, but he eventually comes to believe her and then she offers Elliott seven wishes for his soul. Thinking of Alison and his heart, Elliott makes the deal with the devil. Believing that his dreams of love and popularity could come true, Elliott begins wishing. However, the devil isn’t going to give him a chance in hell.

Bedazzled has some cheesy moments, but I found more of the film enjoyable than dumb.

Harold Ramis directed and co-wrote the film with two other writers. Ramis’ version is a remake of the 1967 film version of Bedazzled, which starred Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Ramis has openly stated that he loves the original version, but he thought that it needed a updating. Though this film is not nearly as pleasing as Ramis’ previous films (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Analyze This), I found his direction fine and fit for this film. The interesting choice made by Ramis and his writing partners, was to make the devil a sexual and naughty female. I thought the idea worked, even though I didn’t care much for the actress who played the devil. Ramis makes his devil filled with lust and harsh comedy, but he still maintains her objectivity. This gender selection stood out to me as an original selection by Ramis. He also creates multiple personalities for Elliot that he inhabits through his wishes. An example is when Elliott wishes to be rich and powerful, and the devil turns him into a Cuban drug lord. Also, I thought Ramis’ decision to have all the dialogue spoken in Spanish while Elliott is the drug lord was hysterical. Having some knowledge of the Spanish language, my conclusion is the actors were also given more demand on their Spanish fluencies during this part of the film.

Brendan Fraser does well with his Spanish dialect, in which I thought the Cuban drug lord scenes were the best in the film. Fraser shows very impressive flexibility that I didn’t believe he had. Outside of his performance in Gods and Monsters, I never thought of Brendan Fraser as much of an actor, but he is good in this movie. He does quite a number with all the personalities he inherits from his wishes. I really didn’t care much for Elizabeth Hurley as the devil. Though I liked the choices and structure of the devil character, but not Hurley's tactics or awareness. A few months ago in a review for The Replacements, I said that Orlando Jones needs a couple of films to help break him into stardom. Jones has a tiny role in Bedazzled as Elliott’s co-worker Dan, but he isn’t given enough material to hardly get noticed. Jones, who has a new “Make 7 Up Yours” commercial, is a comedian that I really like. I know he is getting many film offers, I hope he selects better roles. Lastly, Frances O’Connor shows stable range as Alison. She talks in Spanish too and changes personalities as well with Elliott, since she is involved in every one of his wishes.

If you can look past some of the typical comedic cheesiness in this film, there are some funny moments. I don’t believe this film will find box office gold, but it will do well on video.

Report Card Grade: C+

Beastman’s Movie Reviews

Copyright, 2000 Joseph C. Tucker

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