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.||
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.
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.
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