20th Century Fox presents
Eliott: You turned me into a drug dealer.
The Devil: So what, you asked for rich and powerful.- Eliott (Brendan Fraser) and The Devil (Elizabeth Hurley)
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley
Other Stars: Frances O'Connor, Orlando Jones
Director: Harold Ramis
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (language and one scene of drug use and sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:33m:01s
Release Date: 2001-03-13
DVD ReviewOf all the careers I have ever envisioned myself having, being a screenwriter has never been one of them. I have always felt better being a critic, because, why come up with original ideas when it is easier to point out the shortcomings of others...? Yet during Bedazzled I wanted to be a writer, there are so many little problems with the picture that one or two tweaks of the script would have made it much more enjoyable.
Taking the same plot from the 1967 film of the same, Bedazzled tells the story of a loveable loser named Elliot. Elliot (Fraser) spends his days working for a computer company, and with every free moment he longs from afar for his co-worker Allison (O'Connor). His biggest problem is that Allison doesn't even know that he exists. But when he encounters an incredibly sexy, well-dressed woman who claims to be the Devil (Hurley) his chances with Allison greatly improve. The Devil offers Elliot a chance at life with Allison in exchange for his soul. But soon the wishes prove to be more troublesome and complicated than Elliot's life was before he made the deal. Soon, being rich and powerful, overly sensitive, a NBA star, and President of the United States aren't all they are cracked up to be.
I will admit that I was intrigued at the start of Bedazzled, but the feeling was soon gone. The film has a very original opening sequence that shows different character traits of random people. It is a very well done five minutes; unfortunately all creativity is soon lost. In the end a lack of originality is the biggest problem with Bedazzled. The plot is easily broken down into three acts like most romantic comedies and there is no doubt that everything will turn happy in the end. In fact, those that can't see the "aren't we all better people in the end" finale will likely either not having been paying attention or this must be the first film they have ever seen.
The simple reason that Bedazzled is watchable is because of Brendan Fraser. Without Fraser the picture would have had no backbone. He simply carries the film and with each character and situation he is thrust into he immediately takes command of the picture; he keeps it from becoming completely monotonous. Hurley, on the other hand, is vastly underused. Among the most beautiful woman on the planet, she is never given much to do. She simply stands around in revealing outfits throughout (not that I am complaining or anything). Hurley is a good choice for the devil, because as I mentioned above, she is beautiful and I know no man who would say no to her, but her personality is never consistent. One moment she plays the role with seductiveness and humor, but in the next scene she is the total opposite. In a better performance the devil would have been played for more than just laughs or sexuality.
Few directors have been plagued by the inconsistency that Harold Ramis has in his career. After directing such hit comedies as Vacation, Caddyshack and the brilliant Groundhog Day, Ramis soon began to stumble with such bombs as Multiplicity and Stuart Saves His Family. In Bedazzled Ramis doesn't handle the comedy very well, in fact most of the wish sequences seem to drag on and never really get going. While some moments are funny, such as his handling of Fraser's overly sensitive character, others fail to generate genuine laughs. I am sure that Ramis will soon make another humorous film, he had his chance with Bedazzled, but in the end his effort is less than stellar.
I suppose that in closing I have only two questions to ask. Is Fraser's Elliot such a dope that he wouldn't make one of his seven wishes to be with Hurley? What man wouldn't sell their soul to be with her?
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The THX approved 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer for Bedazzled is easily the best I have seen so far this year. The first thing that struck me while I was watching Bedazzled was how remarkably clean of dirt or print scratches it is. Blacks are solid and deep and sharpness is consistently excellent. Colors are bold and vibrant, the reds on Hurley's clothes or during on scene towards the end of the film are perfectly clean. Fleshtones are also well done, and no evident pixelation or edge enhancement can be noticed.
Image Transfer Grade: A
|DS 2.0||English and French||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Eventhough Bedazzled is essentially a comedy, I was surprised by the overly active Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is offered with this new DVD. The front speakers reproduce the score beautifully and an abundance of effects can be heard. Dialogue is always clean and natural, and the .1 LFE channel comes alive more than a few times throughout the film. The biggest surprise for me on the disc was the surprising use of the surround speakers. While a bit gimmicky at times, the use of the separate channels for the surrounds pay off is spades. Featuring everything from a gunfight to the sound of a crowd at an NBA game, this is a very nice mix. English and French 2.0 Dolby Surround tracks are available, and English and Spanish subtitles are also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish and French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 TV Spots/Teasers
- Still Gallery
- Nuon enhanced features
Leading off the remaining supplements is an HBO first look creatively titled The Making of Bedazzled. Running a quick thirteen minutes, it is more than just the usual behind-the-scenes feature as it discusses the creation of the different characters and wish sequences. An extended cut of the basketball sequence is also included that is worth a look, mainly because the hysterically funny Orlando Jones gets some time to shine. Next up are two selections from the scoring sessions that while completely devoid of any repeat watching, are worth a look. Bedazzled Designs is a short featurette that features a commentary track by costume designer Deena Appel and shows the original design sketches used for the film.
Rounding out the supplements is the theatrical trailer as well as three different TV spots. A THX Optimode pattern is also available but like most Optimode set ups it does more harm than good. The disc also contains Nuon enhanced features that I was unable to explore.
As a final note, Bedazzled contains some of the most inventive menus I have seen in some time.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsWhile I may seem a bit too harsh on Bedazzled, the film is worth a look. It is a harmless romantic comedy and everyone needs to watch one of those from time to time. The extras are nice and the video and audio portions are above average. Rent it and see what you think.
Kevin Clemons 2001-03-11