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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras

    Bedazzled (Rental)

    20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 90 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    The devil went down to Frisco, she was lookin' for a soul to steal...

    Harold Ramis (you know, star of Stripes and Ghostbusters, director of Groundhog Day, Analyse This and the utterly skanky Multiplicity) pops on his directorial cap once again for this remake, no - loosely based upon take would be more appropriate - of the classic '60s Pete'n'Dud film of the same name.

    Elliot Richards (the completely, totally and utterly ADORABLE Brendan Fraser) is one of those typical office dorks that you end up spending more time than you should have to simply trying to avoid getting caught up in the eddy of. Working in computer support, he's the type to carry around Polaroids of his stereo system (including the backs of his speakers!) and crash bar work colleague get-togethers without ever taking the hint that he's simply N-O-T welcome. It is at such a bar that whilst mooning over the co-worker of his dreams (the gorgeous Frances O'Connor, who gives one of the film's best performances as Alison), being needled by his invadees to speak with her, then essentially crashing and burning in a fireball of dorkdom that he makes what would seem a simple, throwaway wish - "I'd give anything to have that girl in my life".

    (Pool) cue the woman in red (Liz Hurley), who assails the hapless Elliot, befuddling him with wonderings as to whether she's a hooker - or worse, a Scientologist (oops, I'd better change my locks), and eventually convinces him of her true vocation - for she is in actual fact the devil. She overheard his wish and wants to help him out - who'd a thunk that ol' Beelzebub could be such a sweetie-pie?

    Baiting him into admitting his desires to be liked, loved, respected, feared - the usual male stuff - then hooning off together in her black Lamborghini (a Diablo, naturally), she drags an incredulous Elliot to her nightclub (DV8, which certain promoters in Melbourne should be rather ashamed of so blatantly ripping off the name from), where a Twilight Zone moment sees the lad suddenly becoming the most popular boy in school, with guys high-fivin' him and girls going all melty at his mere presence. Here the Princess of Darkness lays her offer on Elliot, seven wishes in exchange for his soul. By now sucked into her beguiling vortex he has a cursory glance at the phonebook-thick contract and signs away, and makes what he thinks is his first wish.

    Now there just wouldnít be much of a tale to tell if things didnít have their way of going rather awry now, would there? You wish to be very rich and powerful and married to Alison - you become a moustachioed Colombian cocaine baron whose wife is bonking her "English tutor" (you didnít say "happily married" sweetie). You wish to be the most emotionally sensitive man in the world to woo Alison - you become a weeping ninny that bawls at the sight of sunsets, whips up salads and composes odes to dolphins. You wish to be big, strong, athletic and have legions of adoring fans to impress Alison - you are transformed into a sweat drooling, 7'6" thicker than thick (imagine taking every single phone book from an overflowing Book Muncher bin, stacking them ALL up on top of each other, measuring that and you'd still fall way short of the mark) basketballing yokel with a thimble-sized appendage. You wish to be really smart, articulate, witty sophisticated, charming and popular (oh, and donít forget the big willy!) to sweep Alison off her tootsies - you end up - well, I won't give that one away, but you may be able to guess...

    Anyway, on getting thrown in jail after being forcibly removed from a church, Elliot meets the film's Yoda (for every movie seems to have one in some shape or form nowadays), in this instance his cellmate. On realising a few home truths he tries to call off his pact with the Lizster (oops, that sounds more like a classical music buff), but to no avail - remember the contract honey. So he eventually makes his final wish and, well, to avoid spoilers let's just say that life goes on...

    "I can't give you my soul!"
    "What are you, James Brown?!"

      Video
    Contract

    Wow!

    Oh, you wish for me to elaborate? Umm, OK...

    This is one of the most wonderful video transfers I have seen thus far. Usually the Queen Bitch of Speckle Spotting, I have to admit that this appeared essentially flawless. It's served up in 2.35:1, is 16x9 enhanced and at least to me displayed absolutely no signs of any transfer nasties whatsoever. In all the video boffins have done an utterly superb job here.

      Audio
    Contract

    I canít find anything to whinge about here either. In Dolby 5.1 it is all wonderfully sonically balanced, kicking in the surrounds when appropriate and completely free of any dramas with dialogue levels or anything else for that matter.

    The score comes courtesy of David Newman (who has scored some utter turkeys, but also gems like Heathers, the two Bill and Teds, Never Been Kissed and Galaxy Quest), is never in your face and suits the film perfectly. The soundtrack is a curiously mixed bag, running the gamut from early '90s cheesy-doof practitioners 2 Unlimited (and you donít get one song from them, you also get... a second song - assuming you can tell the difference, of course) to latter-day soundtrack floosies Apollo 440, via way of a couple of Spanish tunes and even a typically American '90s whine rock number. In all nothing startling, and if you rushed out to purchase the soundtrack I'd be seriously questioning your sanity, but it all works OK in the context of the film.

      Extras
    Contract

    Ha ha ha, right. The "special features" box on the packaging lists, and I quote, "interactive menus" and "scene access". Woo!

    This is my first run-in with a rental-only DVD, and regardless of not expecting particularly much the sheer perfunctory nature of what is on offer still managed to surprise and disappoint me. Hell (heehee), even the menu is a generic 20th Century Fox one with a piccie of Brendan and Liz sticky-taped on - and with no mention of the film's title either. No trailer, no nothing - hopefully when Fox deign to make Bedazzled available to purchase for mere mortals such as ourselves they will attempt to make some amends.

      Overall  
    Contract

    If you've ever borne witness to the classic Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Bedazzled, try to erase it from your mind before seeing this and you just may have a good bit of simple fun. For guys there's not just Liz Hurley to ogle over, but Liz Hurley with more costume changes than a Kylie Minogue concert - she even pops up as a parking officer in one quite amusing scene for those who dig the women in uniform thang. There's not really much to say about her acting, umm - she does make a quite wonderful clotheshorse. Girls arenít left out in the eye candy department at all, with the gorgeous Mr Fraser doing his famed loveable-dork thing most magically (MMMmmm...) I mention these rather vacuous factors simply because this particular Bedazzled is that type of film - a throwaway bit of amusing fluff to while away an hour and a half (only just, and counting in the end credits I might add) that is pleasing to the eye, delivers quite a few giggles and a few devilish (come on, you must have expected it!) one-liners to boot. Any comparisons to the original simply aren't fair on either film, and it was kind of dumb kidnapping the title of the '60s flick here in the first place, because it just begs for them to be made.

    As a disc the picture and sound quality simply cannot be faulted, however the utterly generic assemblage is rather disappointing to say the least. Still, being rental-only (Boo! Hiss!) it isn't like you can actually buy it and add it to your collection (as most DVD owners are quite prepared to do), but I'll avoid ranting on about how completely downright stupid and self-defeating I think this attitude from studios is as it has been well covered elsewhere...

    Oh, and not all computer support people are dorks, OK?!


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      And I quote...
    "If you've ever borne witness to the classic Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Bedazzled, try to erase it from your mind before seeing this and you just may have a good bit of simple fun..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Home Built
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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