Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tinka tinka tink

I don't really like to write about my life, but i have to say I am bored out of my mind today at work, and also slightly addled that I will need a new job in a month, as this one is ending. I am finding it challenging to remain hopeful, and also faced again with that renewable, annoying question from one and all (including myself): "What do you want to do?" Ugh--if I knew that, I'd be well on my way. I have inklings, but I don't think I'll know until it's done. I feel like Cinderella in "Into the Woods"--"But how can you know what you want 'til you get what you want and then see if you like it?" Ah, Sondheim.

Meanwhile--to the ridiculous. I went to a press screening for Bewitched last night, the new Nicole Kidman/Will Farrell movie. Always fun to brush up against that wierd Hollywood i-know-someone-you-don't-know-and-am-trying-really-hard-to-impress-you-but-seem-like-I'm-not vibe that goes into any strange orchestrated Film World event. But I digress.

Althought there was a great moment when the man who removed the reserved tape and sat behind us was asked to move, as his seat was for press. He argues and argued, finally asking for his money back for the time he stood in line. For a free movie. You can't make this stuff up.

I didn't expect much from this movie, as I'm not the biggest Nicole Kidman fan. It occured to me last night that the last two films I actually have seen in the theatre are hers--as "The Interpreter" was the one before this. In that, I felt she was acting with her beauty--or perhaps she just can't get past it. It's part and parcel of how she is. I think the most I have liked her ever was in "The Hours", and perhaps because she didn't look like herself. Who knows?

In Bewitched, Nicole plays Isabelle, a witch who wants to be mortal, and ends up doing a remake of Bewitched that she is hornswaggled into by the sleazy Jack Wyatt (Farrell), a movie star on his way down. Hilarity ensues. I actually found myself laughing a lot in this film, mainly from the great delivery from some top supporting actors (Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Katie Finneran, Stephen Colbert). The first scene with Kidman and Kristin Chenoweth was one of my favorites in the film. The biggest surprise was how good Nicole was at comedy. She has good timing, and she's completely charming. The biggest probelm for me was believing that somehow this character had left most of her brain somewhere else, perhaps at home with her hat and broom. But still, it's light comedy, and in that it mostly succeeds.

Mostly, because there are a couple of mis-steps. The great thing about this film is that you get to see a bit of the old Bewitched, and remember how wonderful everyone was. The film plays on that as much as it can. The filmmakers make a decision though, to put a couple of key plot points into the hands of Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur. Unfortunately, Marion Lorne and Paul Lynde, both being dead, were not available. So, unfortunately, we get a couple of cut-rate versions. I was confused by the ending, wondering if Uncle Arthur was supposed to be real or not, and who he was. I suppose we were to believe that these were not Samantha's Uncle Arthur and Aunt Clara, but two people who were kind of stand-ins in the way that Kidman and Farrell are standins for Montgomery and York/Sargent. I have now spent more time than the fimmakers trying to work that out, I think. The film, for a long time, gets by on the charm of its stars, and the nostalgia factor. And the fact that they don't try to make you believe that anyone is playing the characters you so fondly remember. When they do, it's just not so good. Marion Lorne and Paul Lynde were brilliant, individual comedians with years of practice and their own well-rehearsed schtick. These new two don't measure up. I feel sorry for them having had to do it in the first place.

We are given some glimpses into the show within the show, and I kind of wanted more of that and less of a love story. But then again, I'm sure it's because the question of how to ever remake that series is one of the most interesting questions of the film.

Other than that, though, there are some genuinely funny moments, and two very charming leads. And hey, I think I enjoyed it more than the Interpreter. And at this point, that nose wriggling sound effect is hard-wired into everyone's brain-- it just takes you back. I kind of wished we all been sitting in a theatre watching old Bewitched episodes.

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