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BEDAZZLED

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Frances O’Connor, Elizabeth Hurley
Director: Harold Ramis
Rated: PG

THE original Bedazzled was a Peter Cook and Dudley Moore comedy of 1968, a contemporary reworking of the Faust and Mephistopheles legend with Moore as the put upon little man, whose happiness was the woman of his dreams.

Cook played a sardonic devil who managed to ruin the seven wishes he allowed Moore always inserting a factor that Moore had not covered.

It is impossible to imitate Cook and Moore, so the American director Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Multiplicity) has kept the basic plot and updated it. And the moral is: You might wish to be wealthy, successful, powerful, sensitive … but, ultimately you can only be yourself and the love of your life might simply be the girl next door.

Actually the screenplay takes us a bit deeper than this with a reflection about God’s presence and the ultimate good being selfless and self-sacrificing. And there are quite a number of speeches towards the end in case you missed the moral.

Who could replace Peter Cook? The answer is Elizabeth Hurley, a rather suburban and naughty devil rather than profoundly wicked.

St Ignatius Loyola said once that the devil could disguise himself (these days, herself) as an angel of light. Could he have imagined Elizabeth Hurley with her devilish haute couture?

And who could replace Dudley Moore? The unexpectedly excellent answer is Brendan Fraser who has the opportunity to do several quite different roles as his wishes unfold and very clever and entertaining he is.

Australian actor Frances O’Connor also has the opportunity for a variety of roles as the love of his life.

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