Film Commentary [10-26-00]
Faust as a Comedy - - Bedazzled
Genre: Comedy
Grade = B-

Fraser with Hurley in a naughty little maid's number One of my favorite little comedies of all time is the 1967 original British film Bedazzled, written and performed by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (before he became a Hollywood asshole). Now 33 years later Hollywood, due to a complete lack of talent in any form, has nearly run out of old TV shows to remake and is now churning out remakes of old sixties British films, most notably this one and Get Carter with, ha, Sylvester Stallone (ha, ha HA HA HAHAHAHAHAH, choke) as the lead replacing Michael Caine.

Now out of the chute, Bedazzled is the story of Elliot Richard (Brendan Fraser - The Mummy), a loser who pines for his fellow coworker Allison (Frances O’Connor - Kiss or Kill) who is way out of his league. Making an inappropriate statement that he would give anything to be with her, up pops Elizabeth Hurly (Austin Powers, Sharpe’s Enemy) replacing Peter Cook as the Devil who makes Elliot an offer he can’t refuse. She will give him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. As the film unfolds Elliot makes his wishes only to have them screwed up by the Devil because he was not specific enough about what he wants. He wishes to be rich and powerful and married to Allison; he ends up a Columbian drug lord who is married to Allison but whom hates him and so forth. He tries to be more specific with each additional wish but the Devil always finds a loophole the get him.

While the introduction was interesting, the film is not comparable to the original. For one thing, the original possessed a biting British wit that Hollywood is incapable of imitating. Additionally, the original had the Devil living in a mansion in London with the seven deadly sins (with a young Rochelle Welch as Lust) to where Moore would return after he leaves his wishes for more witty dialog with Cook. None of the sins are present in this film and Hurley, although set out in a series of really sexy costumes, does not have the same wicked sting that Cook possessed in the original. What was great about the first film was its ending. Cook wins a bet with God that he would get the first 100 billion souls and returns Moore’s soul making himself feel good by doing so, only to be thrown out of heaven again because he returned the soul for the wrong reason. This movie’s ending was not really very funny and was more lukewarm touchy-feally than anything else.

However, despite what I have said this movie, unlike quite a few other remakes, it did not ruin the original. I did not hate it. On its own merits, it is a nice little comedy that is not overly ambitious. It actually delivers quite a few little laughs. Brandon and O’Connor manage to pull off really great performances as there various incarnations in the wishes. Most notable was that of Brandon as Mr. Sensitive. Also effective was the roles played by Elliot’s three male co- workers who appeared in all of his wishes in varying roles from drug lord’s lieutenants to sports interviewers and intellectuals. Hurley’s performance could have been better if she thrust herself into the role as much more wickeder vamp and wit.

To those who have never seen the original or even heard of Faust, it may even seem more innovative and entertaining than most of the comedies released this year. It is merely mildly entertaining.

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