The road to artistic hell has umpteen on ramps, and one of the busiest lately is the boulevard of broken remakes. Why do fools rush in? Easy: Stars are overpriced and overbooked, and execs want pretested concepts to snag them and get production rolling with a minimum of painful script work.
But a little more script work, at the very least, should have gone into the manufacture of the black comedy Bedazzled. The 1967 original starred Dudley Moore as a shlub trying to wrest his soul from an acerbic Satan (Peter Cook) through six wish fulfillment identities. Here we get Hollywood’s” I’ll do anything” champ, Brendan Fraser, opposite fetching but limited model cum comedian Elizabeth Hurley.
Fraser’s physical shtick works well in spots, especially his turn as a freckle faced aesthete. But director and co rewriter Harold Ramis, a long way from career high ”Groundhog Day,” lets his star run wild – especially at the movie’s start, where Fraser way overdoes the nerdy tics. Hurley can’t pump much sizzle into her flat lines – ”I left my purse in the underworld!” – which Larry Gelbart (guiding light of TV’s ”M*A*S*H”) and Peter Tolan (”Analyze This”) helped concoct.
Only production designer Rick Heinrichs, a longtime Tim Burton collaborator, works full throttle here, packing the screen with lush eye candy. Something to chew on in lieu of a nuttier comic nougat.