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Starring Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Harold Ramis & Peter Tolan; based on a screenplay by Cooke & Moore
Directed by Harold Ramis

IN SHORT: Disappointing. [Rated PG-13. 94 minutes]

As always, no comparison is made to the Source material, a 1967 film starring Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore, written by Cooke and directed by Stanley Donen

Ah to be Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser), desperately in love with the lovely Alison Gardner (Frances O'Connor), a co-worker who doesn't know he's alive. All that Elliot needs, he thinks, is money and power and all his amorous dreams will come true. So he makes a deal with the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley); his Soul for Seven wishes. The Devil delivers on her end of the deal, in ways far beyond anything Elliot could have wished for.

You know the line: "Be careful what you wish for . . ."? We wished for a sexy comedy, 'cuz we've seen Brendan Fraser do it many times and Elizabeth Hurley is just darn fine. We got a tepid comedy from a creative team whose credits are such that they could be funny in their collective sleep -- we're talking everything from Animal House and Ghostbusters to Analyze This and TV's version of M*A*S*H, and more.

We begin with uber-dork Elliot Richards, a tech support phone geek for a software company so incredibly out of touch with any thing passing for normal dweeb-ness that his own co-dweeb workers run in fear at his approach. Fraser plays Richards in the same manner that Christopher Reeves played Clark Kent back in the 1970s, only with an enhanced idjit factor and without any redeeming red cape to make it all better. He wishes to God that uber-babe Alison would notice him, but that prayer takes a left turn at the pool table in the corner -- never pray in a bar -- and Elliot is hit upon by a vision in red.

It's a good thing that Hurley is a vision, because she has no ability to deliver the acid edged barbs that are written for her, let alone any of the jokes. Part of the problem is that, and only the gods in Hollywood know why the writers have decided to give the Devil character flaws. Six thousand years of working with losers is getting to the Prince of Darkness, it seems, and the Epitome of Evil has developed a real god-complex. It's a flaw that gets in the way of her screwing with every wish Elliot makes -- he wants power, he gets it illegally. He wants to be a huge sports star, some other part of his life is diminished. Each wish is fulfilled with a whole new life for Elliot and Alison. Each of the first two come across like outtakes from old SCTV sketches. Eugene Levy played a South American drug lord. Martin Short played a sensitive guy. Been there done that.

Fraser's Elliot shows signs of character improvement as he realizes that wishes won't bring happiness. Elliot matures as the wishes play out, even moreso after he has a run in with what passes for the other side of the Higher Power coin (Gabriel Casseus). We went to college with dweebs like Elliot. Twenty years on, they haven't learned a thing and while it would be nice to think that Elliot has the capacity to change, we don't believe it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Bedazzled, he would have paid...



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