Bewitched (2005 film)
Bewitched is a 2005 American romantic comedy fantasy film written, produced, and directed by Nora Ephron, and starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell alongside an ensemble cast featuring Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth (in her first film appearance), Heather Burns, Jim Turner, Stephen Colbert, David Alan Grier, Carole Shelley and Steve Carell. The film follows an out of work actor (Ferrell) who discovers, in the making of a retooling of Bewitched, that his co star (Kidman) is an actual witch.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nora Ephron|
by Sol Saks
|Music by||George Fenton|
|Edited by||Tia Nolan|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$131.4 million|
Produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures with Red Wagon Entertainment, the film is a re-imagining of the television series of the same name (produced by Columbia's Screen Gems television studio, now Sony Pictures Television). Bewitched opened theatrically in the United States and Canada on June 24, 2005 to both critical and commercial failure, earning only $63 million in domestic grosses from an $85 million budget.
Jack Wyatt is a narcissistic actor who is approached to play the role of Darrin in a remake of the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, but insists that an unknown play Samantha. Isabel Bigelow is an actual witch who decides she wants to be normal and moves to Los Angeles to start a new life and becomes friends with her neighbor Maria. She goes to a bookstore to learn how to get a job after seeing an advertisement of Ed McMahon on television. Jack happens to be at the same bookstore after attending some failed Samantha auditions. Jack spots Isabel and persuades her to audition. At the same time, while she's trying to settle into her new life, Isabel's intrusive father Nigel keeps appearing to convince her to return home, despite several rejections from Isabel.
After Isabel impresses the show's producers and writers, Jack finally convinces Isabel to join the show. Also joining the show is legendary actress Iris Smythson as Endora. After a successful taping of the pilot, Isabel happens to overhear a conversation Jack is having with his agent Ritchie. They are talking about how they tricked Isabel to appear without having any lines. Furious, Isabel storms off with Maria and new neighbor friend Nina close behind. She decides she only has three choices: quit, get mad, or live with it. Instead, Isabel's Aunt Clara visits and aids Isabel in casting a spell on Jack in order to make him fall in love with her. At the same time, Nigel is introduced to Iris and becomes infatuated with her.
The hex works and Jack becomes love struck by Isabel, insisting on several script changes to give her some dialogue and jokes, ignoring statements from test groups preferring Isabel over him. Jack's affection for Isabel grows and he asks her out on a date, making Isabel forget about the hex. But when he brings her home, she remembers and reverses it back to when she and Aunt Clara cast it. The next day, rather than the events the hex presented, Jack is outraged by the scores he received and takes his anger out on Isabel, who lashes back at him. Ritchie fires her, and she storms off.
Rather than be angry at her, Jack is fascinated with Isabel and chases after her, accepting all her comments. After another taping (with Isabel getting dialogue), their romance blossoms. But the next day, Jack's former wife Sheila arrives, determined to woo Jack back. Isabel sees this and casts a spell on her making her sign the divorce papers and have her decide to move to Iceland. Jack, thrilled, announces he will be throwing a party at his house celebrating the divorce.
Nigel attends the party with Iris and when Nigel begins flirting with much younger guests, Iris reveals that she is also a witch and casts a spell on each girl. When Jack makes a toast stating truth will be revealed with everyone, Isabel decides to tell Jack she's a witch. At first thinking she's simply an amateur magician, Jack officially believes her when she levitates him with her broom. Jack becomes frightened and shoos her away with a stick. Offended, Isabel flies off.
Jack takes this hard, being brought to the studios by the police and becoming disenchanted with the project. Isabel decides to return home as she no longer wishes to stay. Jack, imagining himself on the Conan O'Brien Show, is visited by Uncle Arthur. Arthur convinces Jack not to let Isabel leave, because Jack still loves her and wouldn't be able to return for 100 years (which is later proven to be a lie Arthur made up to inspire Jack). Arthur drives him to the studio where he finds Isabel at the set. Jack apologizes to her and tells her he wants to marry her. They do and move into their new neighborhood (which resembles the neighborhood in the series, with the Kravitzes living right across the street).
Principal photography took place from the end of 2004 to the beginning of 2005.
Bewitched received negative reviews from critics. Budgeted at $85 million, it achieved a worldwide gross of $131,413,159, considered disappointing. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 24% of critics gave the film a positive review, based upon 186 reviews, with the website's statement, "Bewitched is haunted by scattered laughs and a lack of direction". The total gross for the United States was $63,313,159, with international at $68,100,000. The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2005, and opened on #2, behind Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The film earned Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple. The film was also nominated for Worst Director, Worst Actor (Will Ferrell), Worst Screenplay, and Worst Remake or Sequel. The New York Times called the film "an unmitigated disaster". Australian critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton gave the film three and half stars out of five stars. Both said that Kidman captured the character exactly.
The DVD was released on October 25, 2005 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It included deleted scenes, such as Jack and Isabel's wedding and an extended version of Isabel getting mad, several making of featurettes, a trivia game, and an audio commentary by the director. In Australia, the Blu-Ray version was released on February 7, 2018.
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