Bedazzled (2000) and Bedazzled (1967) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The original version was very funny for its time. It came out in 1967 with Dudley Moore in the Brendan Fraser role (Is it possible that Dudley Moore and Brendan Fraser could play the same role? Well, I guess it wasn't based on height.) Peter Cook played the Elizabeth Hurley part. In this case, you can understand how Cook and Hurley could play the same part, except that Hurley is quite a bit more masculine.
If you think that Dudley Moore has about as much comic talent as a plate of lumpy potatoes, then you never saw him work with his partner, Peter Cook. They were magnificent together, geniuses at comic timing the equal of Cleese and Palin, or Bob and Ray, Seinfeld and Alexander, or anyone else for that matter. The were in the famous comedy troupe "Beyond the Fringe", and later performed as a duo. They exhibited their teamwork in this film as the affable urbane devil and the befuddled victim.


none in either version
In addition, Cook wrote the script. Cook virtually invented the style of humor later popularized by The Pythons. The absurd magnification of the insignificant, the wordplay, the obsessive behavior, the straight-faced sarcasm. Most of the great British humorists, including the Pythons, openly acknowledge their debt to the genius and uniquely twisted world view of the late Mr Cook.

As extra bonus items, the very musical Dudley Moore wrote the score, and Raquel Welch played one of the deadly sins. Guess which one.

Seems the Devil didn't much like being called Lucifer because that means "Bringer of Light", and that made him sound like a fancy lad. So he changed his handle, and invented the seven deadly sins all in one afternoon of brainstorming. Everything since then has just been a big marketing effort for his seven beloved products. Dudley Moore is a poor schmuck who works at a Wimpy Burger, and just wants the girl of his dreams. The devil gives him seven wishes, which represent seven tries to get it right with Dream Girl, and Dudley gets to reject any of the scenarios if they turn sour. Of course, Satan being Satan, and needing to live up to his reputation from "Monkey's Paw", he turns all wishes sour if there is even the slightest loophole in the wording of the wish. He's not that bad a guy - he's just doing his job.

The pacing may seem slow to you. Old comedy often does. The frenetic pace of today's comics has made it difficult for us to stay patient with the Bob & Ray's and the George Burns's and Jack Benny's. But it's still funny.

DVD info from Amazon.

(2000 Version)

  • anamorphic 2.35

  • special sketch galleries of the costumes and design

  • making-of

  • one extended scene

VHS info from Amazon

(1967 version).

The 2000 version isn't bad. It skips Satan's history, which was the wittiest material in the original script, substituting instead the concept that God and the Devil are not actually manipulatorsl, stressing that both good and evil are actually within each of us. In the 2000 version, the devil isn't even very enthusiastic about the game, and that takes the most interesting player out of the competition. Inevitably, the character of Satan is the most interesting thing in any work where Lucifer appears, but here it is really just an excuse for Hurley to wear sexy clothing.

Hurley looks magnificent, although she isn't very good at creating a character. Fraser is likeable and funny when he has the material, but he doesn't have enough funny material, and what he has is mostly lacking in bite.

Basically, the remake just boils down to showing each of the short skits, wondering what the loophole is, and starting over. I thought the Spanish-langiage skit, with Fraser as a Colombian druglord was pretty good, and the basketball sketch was pretty funny because of the special effects and the two announcers and their silly parody of sportscasting cliches. (Those same two guys appear in the film again and again, possibly in every sketch.)

But there are two big problems with the film, in my opinion:

1. Too many unfunny moments. Pretty much no laughs at all after the basketball sketch.

2. An uninvolving structure. We just don't really care much about how the story will get resolved, and the ultimate solution manages somehow to be maudlin and unsatisfying at the same time.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus, 2000 version: two stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2/4, Apollo 43, Maltin 2.5/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary, 2000 version. 49% positive overall, 50% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... . IMDB summary. 2000 version. IMDB Summary voters score it 6.2, Apollo users 76/100. These scores are consistent with the critical consensus.
  • With their dollars ... the 200 version was about a break-even film. $37 million domestic gross on a $48 million budget, with foreigh and other to make up the shortfall.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, the 2000 film is a C- a watchable comedy, with some funny moments, but altogether too many unfunny ones and an often incomprehensible performance from Liz Hurley. The 1967 version was a C+ - a much cleverer, more literary script, but with some pacing problems.

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