Thursday, July 14, 2005


I went and saw Bewitched last night.

I went because I have a weakness for Nora Ephron films the way I have a weakness for reading Jacqueline Susann when I'm really sick or distressed. If Nora does it well, I can watch it on video after I've had a REALLY BAD DAY. So this was a bit of a reconnaissance mission.

It all went well until I noticed Nicole/Isabelle's personal assistant Nina. 'Where have I seen her before?' I thought. I let it mull away in the back of my brain until I remembered that she was Heather Burns, who also played the quirky and supportive sidekick in You've Got Mail, another Nora Ephron chick-flick. And then the film just lost it for me. It wasn't that I hate Heather or anything, far from it. I think she deserves much better than standing behind the main character raising an eyebrow occasionally. No, I lost my suspended disbelief, the thing that gets me through so many shit movies, because I got distracted by the part of my brain that has been trained to compare and contrast in sundry English Lit and Art History essays.

I started noticing how much Nora had got Nicole to look and act like Meg Ryan (cute little cardigans and full skirts, flat ballet pumps, same accents, same girlie laugh). The only difference was the fact that Nicole doesn't walk like a duck. I noticed how much Will Ferrell (beside having his eyes too close together to be a really good romantic lead) was encouraged to be like Tom Hanks. The music was better, but as usual the film finished with a Louis Armstrong number. There are lots of other similarities with her other movies, but it's been almost 24 hours since I saw bewitched, and I don't retain small details for long.

The other big whinge for me was that there wasn't enough background fun. There was something happening with fake-Endora and Isabella's father, but they obviously cut out whatever scene resolved the subplot to save time. So much time was taken up with the attempt to have parallel dimensions in the plot that all the interesting chances were lost or never even thought about.

So what, you say. Nora is just sticking with a formula that works. I shouldn't expect anything more from her. One step up from Mills and Boon, ten steps down from Arthouse, and not very far from Woody Allen these days, now that he just changes the faces occasionally, and not too many of them at a time. Serves me right for watching crap. But sometimes you just need something really vacuous to switch your brain away from more trying matters. Well, I do, anyway. But it can't be crap tv. That just gets me throwing bricks at the screen, and stresses out the cats.

OK, I've spent too much time thinking about this B-grade blah. I'm going to the opening of the National Sculpture Prize tonight at the National Gallery of Australia, so I'd better go and tart myself up a tad. I'm going to The Yes Men movie tomorrow night, so that'll lift my celluloid spirits, I hope.

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