Bedazzled

USA/Germany 2000

Reviewed by Andrew O'Hehir

Synopsis

Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

San Francisco, the present. Elliot Richards nurses an unrequited passion for his co-worker Alison. The Devil appears to him as a beautiful woman and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. He first wishes to be rich and married to Alison. The Devil makes him a Colombian drug lord whose wife detests him. He then wishes to become a sensitive man but his pathetic blubbering drives Alison into the arms of a macho creep. Next he wishes to become a basketball superstar, but both his brain and his sexual equipment are diminutive. Wishing to be a brilliant, handsome man with ample genitalia with whom Alison falls madly in love, he turns out to be a gay writer. Then, wishing to be president of the United States, he becomes Lincoln on the night of his assassination. Learning the Devil has duped him out of one of his wishes, he uses his last wish to demand a happy life for Alison. This selfless act voids the contract. Restored to his old life, Elliot asks Alison out. She rejects him, but he gets on well with his new neighbour, a dead ringer for Alison.

Review

Lacking most of the wit and style that made Stanley Donen's 1967 original a classic of its Swinging London era, Harold Ramis' Bedazzled remake settles for Elizabeth Hurley in a series of slinky designer outfits and an agreeable everyman performance from Brendan Fraser. Not that there's anything wrong with Ramis' central gambit: that of making the Devil a seductive female. Hurley is well suited for Bedazzled's genial gags and attacks them with gusto. "I think you're hot," gulps Elliot, the lovesick chump who exchanges his soul for seven wishes, after she corners him. "Baby, you have no idea," Hurley purrs.

Of course the first Bedazzled was crucially a satire of its time, matching Dudley Moore's trod-upon bourgeois bedsitter-dweller with Peter Cook's laconic rock-star Satan. When Moore asks for an ice lolly and Cook makes him buy it (thus wasting one of his wishes), we see his Devil as a prankster skewering middle-class expectations. Hurley carries no such social significance, and the transcultural translation of the ice-lolly scene - Fraser and Hurley ride the bus to a San Francisco McDonald's - only seems peculiar, as she's next seen giving him a lift in her Lamborghini.

Not that Ramis and his co-writers (Larry Gelbart and Peter Tolan) had any aspirations to satirise contemporary US mores. Instead their film creates a series of elaborate set-pieces for Fraser's good-natured goofballing. Hurley and Fraser actually have few scenes together after their promising initial encounter so the enjoyable sexual tension between them is frittered away. By the end of the film they seem like best pals rather than erotically charged adversaries. An able physical comedian, Fraser is at his best in the earlier, pre-Lucifer scenes, playing Elliot as a loser whose desperate desire to be liked only makes him intolerable. The character has a close kinship to Jim Carrey's information-driven nerd in The Cable Guy; when Alison, the girl he dotes on, can't remember having spoken to him before, Elliot clarifies matters: "It was the first week of June, three years ago. I said it was really wet out."

As Elliot's various wish scenarios play out, Bedazzled labours ever harder for diminishing returns. The drug-lord sketch is modestly amusing, but the scenes in which Fraser plays a weepy beach poet in natural fabrics and an oversized NBA superstar with a mini-manhood are no better than second-rate television sketch material. His turn as a suave gay writer is depressingly obvious, and the scene's attempt to lampoon a Manhattan literary party is embarrassing, especially for writers with Ramis and Gelbart's connections. The Lincoln gag is a one-liner, but at least it's a gag; it would work better if it were as brief as the convent scene in Donen's film.

This Bedazzled won't show us Elliot and his love object as lesbian nuns, nor does it depict the memorable confrontation between Satan and God seen in the original. Indeed, Hurley doesn't seem much like the genuine Devil to me; perhaps Elliot has gotten tangled up with a saucy, slightly wayward angel who's trying out some of her uncle Lucifer's tricks. She seems positively chipper when Elliot frees himself from her clutches and sends him on his way with a nugget of New Age wisdom that serves as this simple-minded remake's coda: "You don't have to look hard for heaven and hell. They're right here on earth."

Credits

Director
Harold Ramis
Producers
Trevor Albert
Harold Ramis
Screenplay
Larry Gelbart
Harold Ramis
Peter Tolan
Director of Photography
Bill Pope
Editor
Craig P. Herring
Production Designer
Rick Heinrichs
Music
David Newman
©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/
Monarchy Enterprises B.V./Regency Entertainment (USA) Inc.
Production Companies
Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises present a Trevor Albert
production
In association with Taurus Film
Executive Producer
Neil Machlis
Co-producer
Suzanne Herrington
Line Producer
London Crew:
Nigel Wooll
Production Co-ordinator
Cynthia Hochman Price
Production Manager
London Crew:
Leila Kirkpatrick
Unit Production Manager
Michele Imperato-Stabile
Location Managers
Kokayi Ampah
San Francisco Crew:
I. Lampton Enochs Jr
2nd Unit Director
John Moio
2nd Unit Director of Visual Effects
Richard Edlund
Assistant Directors
Michael Haley
Mark Tobey
Bradley Morris
2nd Unit:
Amy Schmidt
Barbara Lontkowski
San Francisco:
John D. Pontrelli
Kenny Roth
London Crew:
David Tringham
Visual Effects:
Amy Schmidt
Script Supervisors
Judi Townsend
2nd Unit:
Randi Feldman
London Crew:
Nikki Clapp
Casting
Sheila Jaffe
Associate:
Julia Kim
London Crew:
Jeremy Zimmermann
ADR Voice:
Loop Troop
Directors of Photography
2nd Unit:
Lowell Peterson
London Crew:
Phil Meheux
Camera Operators
Kim Marks
2nd Unit:
Robert Hillman
San Francisco Crew:
Joe Chess
Steadicam Operators
Colin Anderson
Joe Chess
Spacecam Operator
Ron Goodman
Visual Effects Supervisor
Richard Edlund
Visual Effects Producer
Tom C. Peitzman
Co-visual Effects Supervisor
Ron Simonson
Visual Effects Director of Photography
Ron Simonson
Visual Effects Co-ordinator
Kim Doyle
On-set Supervisor
Shyam V. Yadav
Comp Magic Operators
David Allen
Robert Sterry
Visual Effects Storyboard Illustrators
John Mann
Anthony Zierhut
Visual Effects Concepts/
Board Illustrator
Philip Keller
Visual Effects
Rhythm & Hues Studios
Special Effects Co-ordinator
Alan E. Lorimer
Special Effects
Jan Aaris
Greg C. Jensen
James Lorimer
John Peyser
Lambert Powell
Paul Stewart
Floyd Van Wey
Mike Wever
Gary Zink
Special Creature Effects
Alec Gillis
Tom Woodruff Jr
Amalgamated Dynamics Inc.
Model/Miniature Production
Grant McCune Design Inc.
Graphic Designer
Martin T. Charles
Sports Graphics
Reality Check Studios
Supervising Puppeteer
Alec Gillis
Puppeteers
Garth Winkless
Andy Schoneberg
Christine A. Papalexis
Gary P. Martinez
Motion Control Operator
Les Paul Robley
Production Designer
London Crew:
Brian Morris
Art Director
John Dexter
Set Designers
Jann Engel
Kevin Ishioka
Darrell Wight
Set Decorator
Garrett Lewis
Illustrator
James Carson
Lead Sculptor
James van Houten
Costume Designer
Deena Appel
Costume Supervisor
Valerie O'Brien
Wardrobe Supervisor
London Crew:
Dulcie Scott
Make-up
Key Artist:
Cheri Minns
Prosthetics
Matthew W. Mungle
Prosthetic Lab Work
Clinton Wayne
Ryan McDowell
Key Hair Stylists
Yolanda Toussieng
Susan Schuler
London Crew Chief Hair/
Make-up Artist
Lesley Lamont-Fisher
Main Title Sequence Design/Production
Imaginary Forces
End Titles
Scarlet Letters
Opticals
Pacific Title
Orchestrations
Alexander Janko
Music Editors
Tom Villano
Curt Sobel
Scoring Mixer
John Kurlander
Scoring Sound Designer
Marty Frasu
Scoring Consultant
Krys Newman
Soundtrack
"Just the One (I've Been Looking For)" - Johnnie Taylor; "Stay Awhile"- Gary Schreiner; "My Family" - Banana Oil; "When I Get around You" - Terry Radigan; "Wild Thing" - Tone Loc; "Frenazo" - Tony Phillips; "Stop the Rock (Mint Royale mix)" - Apollo Four Forty; "Rust & Paprika" - Curt Sobel, David Barratt, Gary Schreiner; "Bem, Bem, Maria" - Gipsy Kings; "Mi Amor" - Javier Torres Mosley; "Pump It", "Two-Beat or Not Two-Beat" - Curt Sobel, Gary Schreiner, or "Oh Me, Oh My" - John Margolis, or "The Devil You Know" - Econoline Crush; "Dolphin Song" -Brendan Fraser; "Virtual Beat Ritual" - Meeks; "(Don't Wanna) Hear about Love" - Kati Mac; "The Way She Was" - Dave Hansen; "Rock and Roll Part 2" - Gary Glitter; "Get Ready for This" - 2 Unlimited; "Tribal Dance" - 2 Unlimited; "Bring Your Lovin'" - Robert D. Hanna; "Makambo" - Geoffrey Oryema; "Meena Devi (Goddess mix)" - Tulku; "Change Your Mind" - Sister Hazel; "Strange Disease" - Prozzak; "The Name Game"; "Tell Me Girlfriend"; "Marching through Georgia"
Sound Design
Sandy Berman
Additional Sound Design/Field Recording
John Paul Fasal
Sound Supervisor
Sandy Berman
Sound Mixers
Steve Cantamessa
London Crew:
Brian Simmons
Re-recording Mixers
Paul Massey
D.M. Hemphill
Jim Bolt
Recordists
Tim Gomillion
Dennis Rogers
Dialogue Editors
David Kulczycki
Mildred Iatrou Morgan
Effects Editors
F. Hudson Miller
Aaron Weisblatt
ADR
Recordist:
David Lucarelli
Mixer:
Charleen Richards
Supervising Editor:
Jessica Gallavan
Editor:
Nicholas Korda
Foley
Artists:
Dawn Fintor
Alicia Irwin
Mixer:
David Betancourt
Supervising Editor:
Mark Pappas
Editor:
Michael Dressel
Basketball Consultant
Norman Nixon
Colombian Dialect Consultant
Diego Gomez
Russian Dialect Consultant
Julietta Shakhbagoda
Stunt Co-ordinator
John Moio
Animal Trainer
Catherine Ann Pittman
Helicopter Pilots
Bruce Benson
Cliff Fleming
Cast
Brendan Fraser
Elliot Richards
Elizabeth Hurley
The Devil
Frances O'Connor
Alison Gardner/Nicole
Miriam Shor
Carol/Penthouse hostess
Orlando Jones
Dan/Esteban/beach jock/sportscaster/African party guest
Paul Adelstein
Bob/Roberto/beach jock/sportscaster/
Lincoln aide
Toby Huss
Jerry/Alejandro/beack jock/sportscaster/Lance
Gabriel Casseus
Elliot's cellmate
Brian Doyle-Murray
priest
Jeff Doucette
desk sergeant
Aaron Lustig
Syndedyne supervisor
Rudolf Martin
Raoul
Julian Firth
John Wilkes Booth
Iain Rogerson
Biddy Hodson
Roger Hammond
William Osbourne
play actors
Laurel A. Ward
Beverly Wiles
Robert Ambrose
Suzanne Herrington
tech support advisers
Bonnie Somerville
Sadie Kratzig
girls at beer garden
David Bain
McDonald's employee
William Salyers
elegant devil
Tom Woodruff Jr
biggest devil
William Marquez
Eduardo
Ilya Morelle
Russian drug dealer
Paul Simon
police officer
R.M. Haley
mover
Ray Haratian
Pablito
Mickey Victor
drug factory foreman
Steph√°n A. McKenzie
DV8 bouncer
Lindsay Albert
Joanna Bacalso
Anderson Bourell
Cara Michelle Meschter
Jessica Anne Osekowsky
DV8 clubgoers
Christine Cameron
DV8 waitress
Michelle Boehle
Brigid Burns
Gigi Chavoshi
Natalie Hohalek
Eboni Y. Nichols
Katy Quinealty
Gloria Rodriguez
Susie Shoemaker
Joelene Walker
Hope Wood
cheerleaders/dancers
Certificate
12
Distributor
20th Century Fox (UK)
8,375 feet
93 minutes 3 seconds
DolbyDigital/DTS/SDDS
Colour/Prints by
DeLuxe
2.35:1 [Panavision]
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011