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Bewitched

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: B-
Video/Audio/Extras: A-/A-/B

Directed by: Nora Ephron
Written by: Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron
Based on the television series by: Sol Saks
Produced by: Nora Ephron, Lucy Fisher, Penny Marshall and Douglas Wick
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Jason Schwartzman, Stephen Colbert, Kristen Chenoweth, Shirley MacLaine
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

"Guess what? I'm a Clippers fan!"

Unlike most Hollywood television series remakes, director/co-writer Nora Ephron and her sister Delia decided to go in an entirely different direction with the film adaptation of Bewitched. Instead of a direct retread of the series, they set the film in our world, where Bewitched was a popular series, and is now being remade into a new television series with a new cast. If they hadn't done so, this film could have really crashed and burned, but they did and the film fares much better than it would have.

Egomaniacal actor Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), after his latest picture became a huge bomb at the box office, is cast as Darrin in the remade series. Hoping to focus the series on his character rather than that of witch Samantha, he demands that an unknown be cast in the role. It is then that Jack meets Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), who bears a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in the original series. However, in a twist that could only occur in the movies, Isabel is an actual witch, who is trying to be normal, much to the chagrin of her father, Nigel Bigelow (Michael Caine).

Now, I need to make it clear that I'm not a fan of Hollywood's constant film versions of television shows. Just look at The Honeymooners. What a big waste of time that was! If not for the Ephron sisters' nicely crafted script, this one would have been no different. Granted, there are some flaws in the film, but you'll probably have a good time, anyway, especially if you're a fan of the show. I know I did.

The video and audio on this DVD are superb. The anamorphic widescreen transfer and English Dolby 5.1 audio track serve the film quite nicely. All of the film's colorful scenery looks great on the disc and all the dialogue can be clearly heard with no distortion or hiss in the mix. No less could be expected from a film this new.

The disc's extras begin with a fantastic and very informative audio commentary by director Nora Ephron. There is rarely a moment of silence as Ephron talks us through the film, providing various production tales and anecdotes throughout. The six humorous deleted scenes that are included are worth a watch, though it's probably better for the film that they didn't wind up in the final cut. The subtitled trivia track includes hundreds of anecdotes and factoids about the film. These trivia tracks are always a great feature, in my opinion.

"Casting a Spell: Making Bewitched" is the first behind-the-scenes featurette, which runs just over twenty minutes. However, the featurette is, as expected, a standard promotional fluff piece from the studio. "Bewitched: Star Shots" is a series of very brief featurettes about each of the characters in the film, along with interviews from the cast and crew. "Why I Loved Bewitched" is a very nostalgic featurette that includes loads of cast and crew interviews in which they talk about the original series.

Closing out the disc's extras are a trivia game with questions about the original series and eleven trailers for upcoming films from the studio. Sadly, a Bewitched trailer is nowhere to be found here. This is a great disc for fans of comedy or of the original series. But if that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, you should still go out and give it a rent. I'm sure you'll find something you like here.

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