Friday, August 5, 2011

Okay, I Didn't Hate It! Bedazzled Doesn't Quite Suck!

The Good: Funny, Casting, Costuming
The Bad: Obvious, Juvenile, Oftentimes repetitive
The Basics: Bedazzled is a funny enough film, the defects - utter lack of character development - are not enough to make me recommend it, though I enjoyed it more than I expected.

So, I've gotten a DVD player and I've been watching films on DVD now. I like the little extras, there is a single scene of extras in Bedazzled. It's not worth it. Why did I even bother with this film? Well, 9 out of 10 of the films I don't recommend, are ones my mother loves and I've been bringing movies for her to see when I visit her. So, I figured Bedazzled looked just dumb enough for her to like because my gut reaction was "eeehhh" (Little Homer Simpson head shake of creeped-outness there). I was right, but the way, my dear old mom loved it.

I was also wrong, though, because I didn't hate it. I expected to. It seemed so contrived, the Devil offers a man seven wishes and, naturally, he's thinking with his organ and his wishes are all about a woman. I suppose we ought all to be flattered by that. Sigh. So, the plot was contrived, that the wishes consistently go bad is somewhat obvious as is that things will work out well in the end. And - surprise! - everything you think will happen, for the most part, does.

So the friendless Elliot Richards meets the Devil. And the Devil is pretty hot, thanks to some pretty incredible costuming. The Devil offers Elliot seven wishes and Elliot, consumed with getting Alison Gardner to be his partner, makes wishes accordingly. His wishes always come with consequences; he wishes to be intelligent and have taste and he ends up a homosexual (in one of the most un-funny sequences of the film), he wishes to be emotionally sensitive and his drippiness turns Alison away, he wishes to be a mega athlete and he finds himself . . . unmanned in the genital department.

What's worth watching? Well, the costumes. Not just Elizabeth Hurley's. I mean, she is not sexy in this film because she's so obvious. I mean, it's real easy to see her breasts and legs, but they're right there all the time; it's not at all enticing. There's a fine line between arousing and obvious and the director of this film tried to draw that line with a super bold marker. It didn't work. Needless to say, though, it's quite easy to watch Elizabeth Hurley as the Devil. She's attractive and well costumed, just terrifically obviously eye candy.

The costumes extend beyond the Devil. Especially in his first wish incarnation, Elliot has pretty excellent wardrobe. The acting is fair, I suppose. Fraser is funny as Elliot, but I'm getting tired of seeing him as the lonely geek (see Still Breathing). Still, he gives an adequate performance (ever seen the NewsRadio episode where Bill McNeil is called "adequate?") as does Hurley. The acting isn't a terrifically good reason to see this film.

What is the reason to see the film is the humor. It's actually funny. The funniest part of the film does not appear in the film. There's an "extended basketball scene" on the DVD wherein Orlando Jones and Toby Huss improvise a whole longer scene as sportscasters and it's hilarious. But for the most part, I found myself laughing when I did not expect to be amused by this film. Kudos there!

The problem is, when the film picks a good joke, they stick with it and beat it into the ground. The "dumb jock" routine gets old quick when Elliot becomes a basketball player and his profuse sweating goes from being subtle and funny enough to obvious and "give me a break" level. If each joke was told only once, I suspect the film would be cut from 93 minutes down to about 50.

And the flaws of the script cannot be ignored. Believe me; I got into the film enough to desperately hope that the Devil's flirting with Elliot would end up with a final wish on Elliot's part for the Devil to be his consort. Really. There was some good tension there and when the film started just plodding on, the scenes between Elliot and the Devil were the only recourse and . . . well, I had hope it would surprise me like having Elliot become the Devil's lover. It didn't happen. Sigh.

The best moments, sadly enough, are the labels that occur during the opening credits. They're a good tension breaker for people who take films too seriously. Like me.

For other works with Brendan Fraser, please check out my reviews of:
Furry Vengeance
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
Looney Toons: Back In Action
Gods And Monsters
Still Breathing


For other film reviews, please visit my index page on the subject!

© 2011, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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