So far it seems as if this is going to be a summer of remakes and family movies and not one of big action flicks. Like The Honeymooners and Herbie: Fully Loaded before it, Bewitched is a remake of a popular TV series from many moons ago. Unlike The Honeymooners and Herbie: Fully Loaded, Bewitched is for the most part a successful remake. The chemistry between the two leads, Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, is surprisingly good, Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine will be appreciated by the older crowd, and the younger audience will enjoy Isabelle's magic spells and Will Ferrell's physical comedy talent. It was also a very smart idea for the scriptwriting sister team of Nora and Delia Ephron (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Michael) to change the story to be not exactly like the original because a story that worked in the 1960s tends to seem a little dated today. They have made it a movie about a Hollywood remake of the television series. The director, Nora Ephron (You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle), is an old pro at romantic comedies and she demonstrates her touch in this film. Bewitched is funny but is never corny. The only complaints I had about the movie was that I wanted more of Shirley MacLaine and less of Steve Carell as Uncle Arthur. Bewitched is a fun and light summer film that will not disappoint as long as you do not expect it to be exactly the same as the television series and to have the depth and drama that usually comes with a Nicole Kidman film, but rather just sit back let go and enjoy!
Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is a witch who has decided that she no longer wants to be a witch, much to her father's, Nigel Bigelow (Michael Caine), chagrin. She has vowed not to use her witchcraft anymore and wants to be a "normal" human. Isabel moves into a house in the suburbs and decides she wants a job and a man. It is easier said than done for Isabel to stop using her powers to get what she wants, but Isabel is determined to get caught in the rain, work for a living, and fall in love.
At the same time, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell – Kicking and Screaming and Zoolander) who was a big Hollywood actor whose career has now gone downhill, has been cast to play Darren in a remake of the television series "Bewitched". Jack's smarmy agent, Ritchie (Jason Schwartzman – Rushmore and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) convinces him to be in charge on the set and Jack insists on being the focal point of the Bewitched series. Jack insists that the directors hire an unknown to play the part of Samantha and they are having major trouble finding the perfect Samantha. While in a bookstore Jack sees Isabel wiggle her nose and offers her the role of Samantha. Isabel is very hesitant because she does not want to play a witch; the exact thing she is trying not to be anymore. Jack convinces Isabel to give it a try when he tells her that he "needs" her. Isabel mistakes this for a romantic offer and happily accepts the role. Aging starlet, Iris Smythson (Shirley MacLaine) is hired to play Endora, Samantha's mother and she finds herself dating Isabel's father.
Jack has Isabel's role as Samantha reduced to wiggling her nose. She does not mind until she overhears Ritchie and Jack talking about how Ritchie thinks that she has a crush on Jack and that it is very pathetic. Isabel is mad and stomps off the set. After a talk with her neighbour, Maria (Kristen Chenoweth – Broadway actress from Chicago and Wicked), Isabelle decides to take action. She uses he witchcraft to change scenes in the script and give herself more airtime. Later that evening, with the help of her Aunt Clara (Carole Shelley – The Odd Couple and The Aristocats), Isabel casts a spell on Jack which makes him obsessed with her. The next day on the set Jack is a new man. He is generous and attentive with Isabel; he even demands that her part be made larger. Isabel finally realizes that this is wrong and reverses time and eliminates the spell. Jack returns to work the next day the same self-centered jerk he was before. Isabel has had enough. She tells him he is a jerk and quits the show. Jack chases after her and apologizes for his behaviour and convinces her to come back.
Jack and Isabel get closer and finally become romantically involved. They both are very happy. Isabel feels guilty about hiding the fact that she is a real witch from Jack and decides that she is going to tell him. During a party that Jack is hosting at his house Isabel tells him that she is a witch. At first, Jack does not believe her and so to convince him she performs some witchcraft. He freaks out and she flies away on her broomstick. Isabel decides that she can never be "normal" and she is going back home. Uncle Arthur (Bruce Almighty and Melinda and Melinda), the zany character from the television series, appears to Jack and tells him that if Isabel leaves that she will not be able to come back for 100 years and he should try and stop her. Jack realizes that he is miserable without Isabel and rushes off to stop her from leaving.
Special DVD Features:
-Director's Commentary – Nora Ephron (audio)
-Behind the Scenes – "Casting a Spell: Making Bewitched "
Featurette – 1. "Star Shots"
2. "Why I Love Bewitched "
Game – Bewitched Trivia Game
Trivia – "Witch Vision" Trivia Track