Starring: Elizabeth Hurley, Brendan Fraser, Frances O’Connor
Director: Harold Ramis
Running Time: 93 mins
Bedazzled is an American film about a hapless loser who meets the Devil, who seeks to do some good for once, so in exchange for seven wishes, this man must give up his soul to Beelzebub, although things don’t go quite according to plan.
This is a bit of good fun, but it really doesn’t live up to the brilliance of Stanley Donen’s original Bedazzled from 1967. It puts a distinctly Hollywood mark onto the tale, sometimes for better, but mostly for worse, as this is a pretty cheesy, largely unfunny and occasionally irritating film that just doesn’t compare to the groovy original.
On the plus side, this is a pretty easy-going watch that moves along at a steady pace and doesn’t really get that boring. The scenarios that the Devil puts this man into are all crazy enough to be initially entertaining, and they never go too far that they’re just dull, whilst the strong chemistry between Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser is also a good laugh.
The best thing about this film is Elizabeth Hurley’s performance, because her presentation of the sassy, seductive Devil is the most original thing about this film, and something that actually works. That personality plays off brilliantly against Brendan Fraser’s frequently annoying dweeb, and makes for a relationship almost as entertaining and silly as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s from the original.
Apart from that, however, this isn’t a particularly impressive film. The comedy is very watered-down and seems a whole lot more like schmaltzy rom-com humour than the sort of thing that the original has, where it was both dark and depressing as well as silly and enjoyable. In reality, this is a pretty neutral film when it comes to comedy: it’s not laugh-out-loud funny at all, it’s a little irritating at times, but it is light-hearted enough to be able to get through without thinking too much of it.
The main problem with this comes with the story. Of course, the original satire of the Faust tale is a good plot, and the Devil’s constant deviousness with this man’s wishes are a bit of good fun, but when this film tries to go it alone and make interesting character development, it falls flat on its face once again, becoming more and more like a generic romantic comedy than a properly funny, original and intelligent film that the 1967 one was, and that’s why this gets a 6.6 from me.