Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Sex-Related Humor, Language and some Drug Content
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Written by: Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis & Peter Tolan
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O’Connor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein & Toby Huss
BEDAZZLED is definitely a product of its time. This 2000 American remake of the 1967 British film is a quick and to the point time-killer. The story is a comedic take on the Faustian legend and the whole film is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. If watching Brendan Fraser as a guy who’s selling his soul to a satanic Elizabeth Hurley for seven faulty wishes sounds like it might float your boat for 90 minutes, then by all means, you might enjoy this.
Elliot Richards is a pathetic loser struggling to impress his asshole co-workers and woo the seven-year crush of his life, Allison. When realization hits that Allison doesn’t even know who he is, Elliot meets a sexy stranger at a bar. This seductress makes the seemingly impossible offer that if Elliot were to sign a contract to sell his soul (something that he doesn’t use anyway), she will grant him seven wishes that could make his wildest dreams come true. Turns out that the sexy woman is Satan and this deal is very real. Elliot tries to use these wishes to his advantage and make Allison fall in love with him, but there’s a catch with each wish. After all, this is a deal with the Devil. With time and wishes running out, Elliot tries to figure out a way to win over Allison and save his soul from eternal damnation.
The script for BEDAZZLED, more often than not, plays as flimsy excuse for skit-like segments. The main plot device is Elliot making poorly worded wishes and each scene of that wish playing out is a repeat of the same joke over and over. Elliot’s wish seems to be working wonders, but something goes horribly wrong to his chagrin. My favorite is a tie between him wishing for rich & powerful or intelligent & well-spoken. However, two that fall very flat are him wishing to be emotionally sensitive and another featuring Fraser as a dim-witted basketball player. While my favorite segments do pack a nice punch in the reveal of what is exactly wrong with his new situation, the two flat sequences rely on dusty jokes and stretch for a tad too long. Fraser is likeable as Elliot and Elizabeth Hurley is clearly having a blast as Satan. Though both their characters can be annoying from time to time, they are enjoyable enough.
Despite relying on a repetitive formula of Fraser making a wishes that go terribly wrong and the overall plot being predictable, BEDAZZLED remains pretty funny in parts. Sure, there are moments that rely too heavily on so-so CGI (that wasn’t even too impressive at the time). Hurley’s wise-cracking can get to be a bit much and Fraser tries way too hard to be funny in specific moments. When he’s a basketball player, his comedic delivery is off and the entire sequence is just unbearably lame. The conclusion to the overarching story is as cookie-cutter and cliché as one might imagine in a film of this type, but satisfying enough when all things are considered.
If nothing else, BEDAZZLED is a guilty pleasure. It heavily relies on a steady formula, uses clichés around every corner, and doesn’t do anything that you probably haven’t seen before in a dozen better comedies of this type. It never quite nails a dark comedy vibe and gets so sappy in moments that it’s bound to cause some eye-rolling from the viewer, but there are still creative highlights. Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser do have a fair share of funny moments, but don’t necessarily pull off anything special either. BEDAZZLED is most likely enjoyable for those who might be a tad bit intrigued and go to the effort of tracking this one down.