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BEDAZZLED

SYNOPSIS:
Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) is the office nerd whose dream is to have lovely Alison Gardner (Frances O’Connor) in his life – but she doesn’t know or care if he exists. When he vows to do anything to improve his chances, he inadvertently summons the Devil in the form of a gorgeous woman (Elizabeth Hurley) who offers him a deal: seven wishes for just one soul. His. Elliot reluctantly agrees, only to discover that his wishes don’t quite turn out as planned. There’s always something missing or worse. By the time he has had enough, he has learnt a good deal about himself and about life. As for Alison...

"Transporting the original idea from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s 1960s England to Liz Hurley and Brendan Fraser’s 1990s America has done for Bedazzled what American did for English. It has changed it somewhat profoundly, but that won’t matter to most of its audience since they are too young to have seen the original (or just never got around to it). As a film on its own standing, this Bedazzled is a romp which only gets creaky when it gets serious towards the end and squirts earnest wisdom-like truths about heaven and hell and being yourself at its audience. But even then, Brendan Fraser saves the day. Fraser again proves his extraordinary versatility and range in a role that would test any actor not in total control of his arts and crafts. It’s like a showcase designed for an actor who wants to show he can do everything from slapstick to subtle in comedy, who can turn on the sincerity and the romance and the frustration – and anything else you got for him – on cue. It’s a dazzling performance from a young man who has already toured the cinematic battlements in films and roles as varied as George of the Jungle (physical comedy), Gods and Monsters (comedy/drama) and The Mummy (action adventure/romantic lead). While Hurley and O’Connor come up with the goods as the She-Devil and the romantic lady respectively, it is very much Fraser who makes this movie work as a rippling comedy. It’s goofy and full of cheesy dialogue but the sheer exuberance of it all delivers what the promotional material promises: a devil-may-care comedy."
Andrew L. Urban

"With plenty of razzle, dazzle and a brilliant star turn from Brendan Fraser, Bedazzled is a wicked, wicked temptation. Playful and brimming with whimsy, Harold Ramis milks every delicious drop of red hot sizzle from this devilish concept, leaving us back on earth satisfied that life is a packet of surprises and it's pretty certain we make our own luck. But without doubt, Bedazzled's success lies in the charismatic form of Fraser, who energetically jumps into character and does everything short of walking on a tightrope with no safety net. This is truly a tour de force from Fraser, whose comedic touch is nothing short of genius. From gawky nerd with foot in mouth, Elliot becomes a Spanish speaking mustachioed Colombian Drug Lord, a freckled red head sensitive new age poet, a giant blond basketball champion and a smooth articulate intelligent man about town. But things are not always what they seem, and with the She-devil's fiery frequent interference, fantasies and dreams become nightmares. As for the seductive Liz Hurley, well she is hot, hot, hot and toys with us, like a female spider waiting to eat its mate. Dressed to kill in an assortment of stunning figure hugging slinky dresses, and ensembles that make the eyes boggle, Hurley looks fabulous, if not terrifyingly imposing as the ultimate in temptations. But she always has a twinkle in her eye and mischief is the name of the game. Red and black, black and red with glamour overload, this is over the top fantasy and Hurley plays it for real all the way. Oh, yes, she drives a Lamborgini Diablo with 'Bad 1' number plates and her business card reads 'The Devil'; betcha not surprised at that! And she has offices in purgatory, hell and LA; these devils get around, you know! Frances O'Connor is lovely as the object of Elliot's desires – she slips in and out of each of the characters with ease and grace. Buckle up, the trip to hell ain't as bad as you think!"
Louise Keller

"There's a special thank you to Stanley Donen on the credit roll of this update of his 1966 near-classic comedy Bedazzled. The devil herself Liz Hurley even has a couple of dogs named Peter and Dudley. That's about all this intermittently amusing rehash has in common with Donen's sparkling original starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The dazzle is missing in director Harold Ramis' reworking of the Faust-Mephistopheles story and it's just as well the likeable Brendan Fraser is on hand or there'd be even less to cheer about. He's sympathetic and funny as the bumbling schnook who'll do anything to win the girl of his dreams and when the object of his affection is Frances O'Connor it's easy to understand why he'd dance with the devil in a red dress. His ability to inhabit the various characters Elliot "becomes" (drug lord, basketball star and intellectual writer among them) is the major plus of a film which really doesn't have too much wit built into the script. Ditto Frances O'Connor who, in a role which will neither advance nor hinder her career, is luminous even when her dialogue isn't. Liz Hurley makes a reasonable fist of her faustian foray although I couldn't help thinking she was channeling Joanna Lumley as she tossed off breathy sexual asides. There's just enough amusement to make Bedazzled an acceptable no-brainer but it never sizzles like it should. The attempt to get deep and meaningful in the final act doesn't sit well with the easy and breezy style of what's gone before and is proof that too many members of the film community are still taking their new age therapy sessions far too seriously."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See Jenny Cooney Carrillo's interview with
LIZ HURLEY

Read our interview with
FRANCES O'CONNOR

BEDAZZLED (PG)
(US)

CAST: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O'Connor

DIRECTOR: Harold Ramis

PRODUCER: Trevor Albert, Harold Ramis

SCRIPT: Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan (from 1967 Peter Cook (story/screenplay) and Dudley Moore (screenplay))

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Pope

EDITOR: Craig Herring

MUSIC: David Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rick Heinrichs

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 25, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Ent

VIDEO RELEASE (Rental): May 30, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE (Sell-thru): August 14, 2002







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