Bedazzled (2000)

“Seven utterly fabulous wishes for one piddling little soul?”

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day)
Starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley

Harold Ramis, who brought us the absolute wonder that is Groundhog Day, unfortunately also directed this film. He just could not repeat and created something predictable and ultimately just uncomfortable the whole way through.

Bedazzled follows Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser), who is a socially awkward and unliked office worker. His ‘friends’ actively try to avoid him and mock him at every opportunity. One night at a bar when he tries to talk to the girl he has been admiring from afar for four years, Alison Gardner (Frances O’Connor), and fails to get her attention. He mutters:

“Dear God, I would give anything to have that girl in my life.”

This is when the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley) appears, ready to trade seven wishes for Elliot Richards’ soul.

The wishes obviously fail in what were spectacularly strange and wondrous ways. Unfortunately this is all that I can say for the positives of the wishes. They are mostly uncomfortable to watch and not particularly funny. There are a few good jokes but mostly the audience is just waiting for the wishing to be over.

The dialogue between the Devil and Elliot is much more enjoyable, despite it being quite limited such as when the Devil is trying to bargain for Elliot’s soul;

“I, the Devil, a not-for-profit cooperation, with offices in Purgatory, Hell, and Los Angeles, will give you seven wishes to use as you see fit.”
“Seven wishes? Why not eight?”
“Why not six? I don’t know. Seven just sounds right.”

Also when they break into Alison’s home and are reading her diary;

“Listen to this. ‘Last night was the most incredible night of my life. I never did get any of the guys’ names, but I brought them back home and all five of them banged me like a Salvation Army Drum.'”

Elizabeth Hurley is able to create a creature that feels other. She does not feel human and the audience does not believe a word she says; the perfect character for the Devil.

The most emotional scene in the film, and emotional is generous here, is when Elliot finds out he will keep his soul and is parting ways with the Devil;

“To tell the truth you are the best friend I’ve ever had.”

Elliot has been treated so poorly by everyone around him that the Devil, who has treated him just like every other person on the planet – tried to steal his soul by ruining his life – but did so with respect, is his best friend. This would have been a really heartbreaking scene if the film had allowed it, however we move right along and allow this to percolate for thought later.

Thankfully, the wishes do bring about a change in Elliot. He learns that if he can get respect from the Devil, then he deserves respect from everyone else. This is shown through him standing up to his ‘friends’ and asking Alison out. I did enjoy that he does not get the girl because in reality no matter how much self-improvement you do, you cannot make someone love you. However, now that he knows what he deserves, he is able to accept that and be happy anyway.

Do not waste your time on this film as I did, pick something else for your Friday Night Film Night viewing, and I will try to break my Brendan Fraser habit.

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