Saturday, March 22, 2014



Now that my association with Fillies is over, I have to find a new project worthy of my talents. I called Joseph, my literary manager to see what had crossed his desk recently that might have a suitable part for me. The Jujamcyn production company has put an option on developing a stage version of my film H.M.S. Pinafore II: Return of the Deadeye and has inquired into my availability for Little Buttercup. As I played Josephine in the original, I feel that this would be a step down so I think I'll pass. There's also a script for a new musical for me, Debbie Reynolds and June Allyson called Goodfollies , the story of three lady mobsters from Jersey who run a numbers racket in a senior living facility. This has possibilities. There is also a musical called The Producer about a green grocer but as the only finished number so far is an Eggplant Ballet, I'm waiting for more material.

Norman, who has been catatonic most of the day, woke up enough during my conversation to suggest that I might take the title role in Moby Dick . I threw a stiletto heel at him, but it bounced off the metal plate in his head. The shock, however, caused him to start reciting dialog from his movie about the three adventurers from the Confederate Army Bubba Din . As I had no interest in listening to such tripe for long, I retired once again to the home theater to relax my brain. Once there, I popped the remake of Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley into the machine.

Bedazzled is a Harold Ramis remake of the classic 60s British comedy with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. In this version, Brendan Fraser is Elliot, a nebbish employed in a San Francisco high tech firm who is so annoying to everyone; I nearly turned the film off twice during the first five minutes. Ramis obviously hasn't learned the difference between 'funny annoying' and 'annoying annoying'. Elliot is smitten with Alison (Frances O'Connor), a co-worker who doesn't know he exists. One day at the local watering hole, after being rejected by Alison, he declares he'd give anything to have her in his life. Enter the devil, in the person of Elizabeth Hurley. The devil offers Elliot seven wishes in exchange for his soul. Elliot, being the clueless type that he is, accepts and soon wishes for wealth, power, and marriage to Alison. He gets them all as a Colombian drug lord but, as with all deals with the devil, the fine print keeps things from turning out quite the way he plans.

Elliot bounces from wish to wish, each as disastrous as the last and each failing his wants. Brendan Fraser gamely struggles to make Elliot sympathetic, no matter what idiotic make-up or persona he's given in each vignette and tries to show how Elliot learns from his mistakes and grows up as a person. He's let down by a stupid screenplay that goes for easy, rather than smart laughs, and which never met a stereotype (ethnic, sexual, professional) it didn't like. We can always tell it's Brendan underneath, however, as the makeup department has given him the same frost pink lipstick for each character. It's incredibly distracting in his close-ups, unless you have a fetish for six foot four, two hundred and thirty pound drag queens.

Elizabeth Hurley, as the devil, is given a series of incredible eye popping red and black outfits to wear and she looks sensational in them. (Certain Hollywood sources have cruelly suggested that the film was digitally retouched to make her look more sensational than she actually does - I could not tell). Unfortunately, she is also called upon to act and she can’t and doesn't. Her devil has one attitude, petulance. Charisma, seduction, and wit, all of which would be necessary for this devil to succeed, are all missing in action. Frances O'Connor, on the other hand, does all the variations on Alison nicely (without the frost pink lipstick) but is really more of a plot device than a character.

Towards the end, the film starts to veer into philosophy (but steers clear of theological debate) which seems inappropriate given the way the first three quarters of the movie has played out and, by the time God makes a cameo in a prison cell, you long for less sentiment and more cutting humor.

If you feel a need for devilish humor, skip this - rent the original instead or try Gwen Verdon, Ray Walston and Tab Hunter in Damn Yankees . At least that one has Bob Fosse choreography to liven up the proceedings.

Devil owned nightclub. Impossible pool shots. Falling from helicopters. Gratuitous Tic-Tac joke. Gratuitous show queen references. Dolphin safe tuna. Gratuitous penis double entendres. Presidential box. Flames of hell. Red sunglasses.

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