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Bedazzled

Although he can act, Brendan Fraser seems to love to frequent movies where his character is a bumbling good guy. He plays the normal everyman, a slightly clumsy man who tries to be endearing, but usually ends up annoying. Dudley, Do-Right, Blast From the Past, George of the Jungle, and to a small degree even The Mummy all contain the same character. In Bedazzled, he plays the same character again, yet this time he is an all-out loser. Loser of course means he is a nerd who has no friends, with large glasses and horrible clothes. This time, he is not even sympathetic. He is truly a loser. His jokes are not funny, and unbeknownst to him, his coworkers despise him. He is clueless to his coworkers attempts to ignore him, and is anal-retentive. Bedazzled is a remake of the 1967 film by the same name, then starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.

Elliot Richards (Fraser) is in love with Alison Gardner (Frances O'Connor, Mansfield Park, About Adam). They work together (and have for four years) but she never noticed him. His wish for her conjures up the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, EdTV) who agrees to give him seven wishes for his soul. Why seven wishes? The Devil claims that people need seven to get things right. Richards's first wish is to be rich, powerful and married to Alison. The Devil grants him this by making him a South American drug lord in a loveless marriage. The Devil turns Richards' wishes against him at each opportunity by exploiting the general nature. So each wish Richards makes becomes more elaborate, but the Devil still manages to find some loophole. But the real reason there are seven wishes is to stretch the plot to movie length and to let Fraser show off his comedic talents in a variety of situations, from a basketball player to a President, all with diminishing returns on comedy. The situations are wildly uneven, either actually bordering on funny or just plain boring. However, it is still Fraser's charisma and charm that makes watching this bearable. The odd thing is that after the beginning, Richards' demeanor changes. He is no longer the ultimate loser. He is now just a normal guy. This is not because of anything his character experiences, but because the story conveniently forgot to keep his manner consistent.

Director Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day, Analyze This) is capable of so much better. Watching Fraser in one movie can be trying enough, but this time there are essentially many short movies with him playing different aspects of the same character. O'Connor and some of his coworkers pop up frequently also, but none of the performances are notable except for Orlando Jones. Jones' profile is slowly rising, from his stint on Mad TV to roles in Liberty Heights, The Replacements, and his job as the 7-Up spokesman. He is not on screen for that long, but he is by far the funniest thing in this movie. O'Connor was good in Mansfield Park, but does almost nothing here. She is the wallpaper lining all of Richards' wishes. It looks nice, but doesn't really do anything. Hurley fares poorer. Peter Toolan, Ramis, and Larry Gelbart's script merely calls on her to be sexy, which for Hurley, is not a stretch at all. She struts her stuff in tight outfits and speaks in a British accent, and nothing else. Sad to say, but it becomes boring watching her and the rest of Bedazzled.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor, language, and some drug content.

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