Movie casts no spell |

Movie casts no spell

Dan Thomas
Post Independent Staff

The casting of “Bewitched” is such a master stroke it seems like the filmmakers could have stopped there.

The problem is, it appears they did.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Alicia Silverstone competed with Nicole Kidman to play TV witch Samantha. Technically, the other actresses were vying with Kidman to play the witch playing the witch. No spoiler here ” the central gag of “Bewitched” is Will Ferrell stars as a washed-up actor who’s remaking the old television show and accidentally casts a real witch.

Kidman seems like the best choice ” almost cute and charming enough to provide a little relief in an otherwise very bad movie, storing just a hint of “Practical Magic” mischief in her arched eyebrow. There’s just one major problem: Kidman’s character, Isabel Bigelow, lands the witch role on the show because she can twitch her nose just like the original Samantha, Elizabeth Montgomery.

Thing is, Kidman can’t twitch her nose like Montgomery could ” she purses her lips, wiggles them, and her nose kind of follows. It’s emblematic of the movie’s quality that “Bewitched” would cast Kidman, who can’t wiggle her nose, as a woman who lands a television part solely because she can supposedly wiggle her nose: “Full Frontal” for idiots.

Beyond the two leads, the casting remains excellent, from Shirley MacLaine hamming it up as the actress playing Endora to seemingly every member of “The Daily Show” in pitch-perfect cameos. Along with the movie’s central conceit ” a remake of “Bewitched” about a remake of “Bewitched” ” those choices would seem to set the stage for either some meta-dramatic humor or biting Hollywood satire. But instead of following the lead of, say, “Noises Off” or “Get Shorty,” this latest in a long line of lowest-common-denominator remakes opts for hokey hocus-pocus jokes instead.

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