Bedazzled

PLOT:

Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) is a geeky and overeager young man working a dead-end job in a San Francisco call-center. He has no real friends, other than his co-workers who manipulate him for their own amusement, knowing he’ll do anything for acceptance. He has a crush on his colleague, Alison Gardner (Frances O’Connor), but lacks the courage to ask her out. After Elliot is ditched at a bar while trying to talk to Alison, he says that he would give anything for Alison to be with him. The Devil (Elizabeth Hurley), in the form of a beautiful woman, hears this wish and offers Elliot a contract. She will give Elliot seven wishes, and in return Elliot will give her his soul.

As might be expected of a bargain with Satan, there is a catch to the deal. No matter what Elliot asks for himself, the Devil grants his wish in such a way that he is invariably unhappy with the result,

  • As a test wish, he wishes for a McDonalds Big Mac and a Coke. The devil takes him to McDonalds and places the order on his behalf. Elliot has to pay for it, because as the saying goes, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

After taking Elliott to her nightclub in Oakland in her black Lamborghini Diablo, the devil gets Elliott to sign her substantial contract, and delivers his further wishes:

  • He wishes to be rich and powerful, with Alison as his wife. The Devil makes him a Colombian Drug Lord whose wife despises him and is having an affair with her language tutor – pointing out that he never wished for Alison to be in love with him – and whose business partners are about to double-cross and murder him.
  • He wishes to be emotionally sensitive. The Devil makes him so sensitive he spends much of his time crying at how beautiful the world is. Alison then contradicts herself and says she wants to be with a man who is strong and shallow.
  • He wishes to be a superstar athlete. The Devil makes him an unstoppable seven-foot-plus tall basketball star, but gives him an extremely small penis and equally low IQ (as evidenced by a limited vocabulary), which causes Alison to lose interest in him.
  • He wishes to be intelligent, witty and well-endowed. The Devil grants this by making him a famous writer who is actually gay, living with a male partner.
  • He wishes to be President of the United States. The Devil makes him Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on the night of his assassination.

In each wish, his co-workers are his nemeses, thwarting each one.

After each wish is renounced (by dialing 666 on a pager), Elliot returns for a meeting with the Devil in which she blames him for not being specific enough in his desires and prompts him to try again. These meetings take place in a variety of locations, with the Devil each time in a different role, in which she carries out a variety of everyday evil acts – dismissing a class full of students from their lesson without any homework other than to remember not to take any interest in being educated, swapping the medication on a hospital trolley for candy (although she explains that those were placebos), forcing parking meters to expire, and writing tickets for parked cars. The roles she plays (teacher, nurse, police officer, cheerleader) can be viewed as objects of typical male sexual fantasies. In one of the deleted scenes she also wears a French maid outfit.

Eventually he goes back to work, taking time to think on what would be best to do with the two last wishes. The devil points out that on their first meeting he asked for a Big Mac and Coke. This counts against his total, leaving just one wish remaining.

Then he goes to a church looking for God’s help, where he briefly confesses to a priest who seems sympathetic. However the priest, upon being asked whether he thinks asking the Devil for a Big Mac and Coke counts as a wish, has Elliot arrested. The sergeant decides to book him, and the Devil, now dressed as a police officer, throws him in a cell, telling him that she really does like him, and it wouldn’t hurt to have her as a friend. In prison, Elliot’s cellmate (Gabriel Casseus, as an angel) tells him that he cannot possibly sell his soul as it belongs to God, “that universal spirit that animates and binds all things in existence” and although the Devil may try to confuse him, in the end he will realise who he truly is, and what his purpose is. Mistakes are to be expected, but with an open heart and mind, eventually he’ll get it right. Elliot questions the man as to his identity, but the response is simply “a really good friend”.

Elliot returns to the Devil and asks her to cancel their contract. When the Devil refuses, Elliot states that he will not use up his final wish. However, there is also an expiration date for the wishes, and The Devil angrily teleports both Elliot and herself to her domain, Hell, where she transforms first into a black horned monster, then into an enormous giantess, who is much bigger than the terrified Elliot in comparison. When the Devil pushes him to make a final wish, Elliot blurts out that he wishes that Alison could have a happy life. The giantess devil heavily sighs and then falls into a million pieces, Elliot falling into the depths of Hell. Elliot wakes up on a marble staircase, wondering if it is Heaven. The devil tells him that it is merely a courthouse and that, by the terms of his contract, a selfless wish voids the entire deal, so he gets to keep his soul.

Before they part ways Elliott admits that despite her manipulation of him he has come to like the Devil and regards her as a best friend, something she does not object to. She simply says that Heaven and Hell can be found on Earth. It’s up to the humans to choose. Elliot finally approaches Alison directly and asks her out, only to find that she is currently dating somebody. He accepts this with good grace and continues with his life, but with a better understanding of who he is and renewed confidence.

Later he is confronted by one of his ‘friends’ at the office, who makes fun of his former attempts to be cool. Elliot finally loses his temper and grabs the man’s shirt, but lets him go with a simple “nice talking to you Bob”. A threatening look sends his other coworkers scurrying.

At home, he soon meets a new neighbor, Nicole Delarusso (also played by Frances O’Connor), with personality traits and dressing styles similar to his. He presumably forgets about Alison and enters a relationship with Nicole.

While the two are walking along the boulevard, the Devil and the cellmate, both dressed in white, are seen playing a friendly game of chess (the Devil, true to form, tries to change the pieces while the man watches Elliot and Nicole), confirming some kind of bond between the two. Whether the Devil is who she says she is, or an agent of God – heavily implied by the wise prisoner – sent to tempt humans, remains unclear.

The movie closes to the lyrics of “Change Your Mind” by Sister Hazel, and reveals that Elliot ‘drinks from the carton’, and Nicole ‘hogs the covers’.

REVIEW:

As I’ve stated many timed before, and will keep stating until they put me in the ground, I despise and detest remakes. However, there are rare instances when remakes are pretty good. Bedazzled is one of those instances.

Brendan Fraser starts out the film as the typical nice guy that finishes last in everything and tries to hard. In the films opening, it’s even shown that as he opens the door for one person,  a slew of other people follow. I’ve been in those same shoes, so I feel his pain. As the picture moves on and he makes his wishes, each a comedic adventure in itself, his character somehow gains confidence. Perhaps this is the devil’s intention all along?

Speaking of the devil, Elizabeth Hurley is hands down the hottest devil I’ve ever seen. she is smoking hot from the time she appears on the screen all the way until she turns into a giant demon near the end.Characterwise, she’s not particularly evil, but rather manipulative. she uses her feminine ways to persuade Eliot to do things for her. This is all without mentioning the super sexy wardrobe she has all the way through the film.

Frances O’Connor has a major role, but at the same time it’s rather small. She is the object of Brendan Fraser’s affection, and is present in all the wishes, but she’s nothing more than a supporting character. As a supporting role, she is pretty good, but I think she could have done more with her role. As it is, the final scene when she is her Doppelganger, Eliot’s new neighbor, Nicole, is her best of the film, mainly because you can really see the chemistry between the two there. That may have been done on purpose, however.

I’m not exactly sure there were 7 wishes. I’m assuming it has something to do with the 7 deadly sins, though. Each of the wishes were very enjoyable to watch, but each one seemed to get shorter, not counting the Big Mac wish. I didn’t time them, but it seems as though the Colombian wish was the longest and the Abraham Lincoln wish ended up as the shortest. Maybe its just me, though.

What we have here is a romantic comedy, but there is a guy in the lead as opposed to an over-emotional female. Fraser fully embraces this role and Hurley plays up her natural hotness with those uber -hot outfits the costume department had her in. I don’t think this film would work without her looking so sexy. Fraser’s comedic talents can only go so far. That doesn’t make this anywhere near a bad film. For some reason critics and people find Hurley annoying and don’t think this is worth watching. Well, guess what? I disagree! It is fully worth the hour and a half runtime, if for nothing else than to laugh at Brendan Fraser’s pain and see Elizabeth Hurley. Look for the dogs named Peter and Dudley, a nod to the stars of the original Bedazzled, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

2 Responses to “Bedazzled”

  1. […] her wanting to party and have sex, she became, well a character very similar to Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. Thing is, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as her intentions are to be a hot chick that […]

  2. […] watched and enjoyed the Brendan Fraser version of this movie and then rented this one once I found out it existed. Ugh. While this old version gets credit for […]

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