Bewitched (film)

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We weren't allowed to watch Bewitched while growing up. Daddy said it was racist.

The 2005 film adaptation of the series of the same name... sort of, written and directed by Nora Ephron. It stars Will Ferrell as Jack Wyatt, an egocentric actor whose last few films have been flops. Jack is looking for a role with which to make a comeback before his career does a complete nosedive. What he and his agent Ritchie (Jason Schwartzman) decide on is a new version of the classic Sitcom Bewitched re-conceived as a starring vehicle for Jack, in which he will play Darrin.

Meanwhile, Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) has moved to L.A. to demonstrate to both herself and her family that she is a modern, independent woman capable of living on her own. Unlike most young women who do so, though, Isabel is a genuine witch in the same mold as Samantha, and is determined to prove that she can live without magic, just like the mortals do. She's not quite good at it, nor at the mortal world in general, but she gets some help from her new next-door neighbor and best friend Maria.

Naturally, Jack -- who is looking for an unknown to play Samantha, the better to spotlight himself on the show -- stumbles across Isabel as she twitches her nose in a conveniently familiar way. He convinces her to audition for the role, and she gets it. But once it becomes clear that she's little more than a piece of stage dressing on The Jack Wyatt Show, she decides to make a few changes.

And as magic swirls around herself, Jack, and the brand-new version of Bewitched, characters from the show begin to come to life, offering their own help and advice, for better and worse...

Post Modern Hilarity Ensues, as does (eventually) romance.

Tropes used in Bewitched (film) include:
  • Animated Credits Opening: for the Show Within a Show, which completely hides Samantha's face and highlights Darrin's, to emphasize that the show is about Jack and only Jack.
  • Behind the Black: One of the ways that Isabel's father Nigel appears -- in particular, he enters a scene as Isabel's talking to a projection of him, and walks right past her to linger in the rear of the shot until she turns and walks past him. Even distracted, she probably should have noticed him as he passed within a foot or two of her.
  • Continuity Reboot: In-universe, the new Bewitched TV series starring Jack and Isabel.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Uncle Arthur:

Jack Wyatt: [takes a drink of something Uncle Arthur has just made in the blender] This tastes awful!
Uncle Arthur: I know. I just like to blend.

  • Drives Like Crazy: Uncle Arthur, in Jack's Porsche.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Sort of. When Isabel finally gets mad, a painted flat of storm clouds begins roiling and flashing with lightning and thunder as she passes.
  • Expy: Besides the actors and actress, half the characters outside the show are expies of someone in the series. This doesn't count actual characters from the show who begin to appear around Jack and Isabel.
  • Flying Broomstick: Isabel owns a nice collapsible model which can fit into her purse when she's not using it.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: Remembered here -- the Steve Lawrence recording of the Bewitched theme plays during a particularly romantic moment.
  • Freak-Out: Jack doesn't take it very well when Isabel demonstrates that she is a real witch.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Played out with tubs of Cool Whip instead of ice cream.
  • Hot Witch: Isabel. And for those who remember what she looked like in the 1950s, Shirley MacLaine...
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Isabel tells her father this is her reason for moving into the mortal world.
  • Jerkass: Jack. But he eventually becomes the Jerkass With a Heart of Gold.
  • Lampshading
  • Large Ham: All of Jack's characters. Jack himself. Especially after Isabel hexes him and he starts over-acting on-camera.
    • Iris, too.
  • Let Him Choose: A dog in one episode of the show, and thanks to Isabel's magic, the dog Takes a Third Option.
  • Love Potion: Combined with Love Makes You Crazy.
  • Magical Gesture: In addition to Samantha's trademark nose-twitch, Isabel has one of her own -- tugging on her ear. Iris notices Isabel doing it and comments on it.
    • Iris has one as well -- a very classic flick-of-the-fingers.
  • Masquerade: Maintained by the real Witch Species.
  • Mister Seahorse: Jack briefly worries if he'll become one when he learns about Isabel's true nature.
  • Mundane Utility: At first, Isabel tries to avoid using magic at all, later she uses magic to plug in the TV set.
  • Naive Newcomer: For someone planning on moving wholesale into a brand new culture, Isabel is remarkably unprepared for and uninformed about mortal life.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Jack Wyatt is not very nice, although Isabel is fooled at first by his charm.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Gladys Kravitz herself -- along with husband Abner -- makes an appearance in the final moments of the film.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Interview: Jack dreams that he's walked onto the set of the Conan O'Brian show naked.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One of the other ways Nigel appears in a scene.
  • The Other Darrin: Referenced in-universe.
  • Painting the Medium: Well, the original medium. When Aunt Clara vanishes, she turns into a line that shrinks into a dot before "blipping" out -- just like the image on an old CRT TV when it's turned off.
  • Portal Picture: Nigel walks out of a columned hall which turns out to be a painted flat when two stagehands come by and carry it off.
  • Product Placement: Multiple instances, in a mix of in-your-face and subtle, for products, stores, restaurants and even tourist attractions.
    • One very blatant example is a grocery shopping sequence where they are used for story purposes -- Isabel's father manifests his face on packages of Newman's Own popcorn, Green Giant canned vegetables and Gorton's frozen fish sticks, among others.
    • Isabel, who apparently adores Cool Whip, buys a dozen tubs of it (and is seen eating it like ice cream later in the film).
  • Real After All: The immortal Witch Species living alongside normal humans. One begins to wonder what the folks who made the original Bewitched really knew...
  • Recursive Canon: Strongly hinted at. There's just too much similarity between the Bewitched TV show and the world of "real" witches and warlocks for it to be just coincidence.
  • Recursive Reality: Characters from the original Bewitched series start manifesting around Isabel and Jack, including Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur.
  • Recycled Script: In-universe: the episodes of the show we see being shot appear to be remakes of scripts from the original series.
  • Reset Button: Pressed in-universe by Isabel, after she decides she doesn't like the effects of a spell she cast on Jack.
  • Show Within a Show: Both Bewitched, the original TV series, and the remake around which the movie revolves.
    • Also Jack's various films, bits of which we get to see.
  • The Take: Jack claims that much of his success as an actor comes from several reactions that he uses with great frequency, including Double Takes, Eye Takes and something fairly close to a real-life Wild Take. He demonstrates them to Isabel, who later comes across his movies on TV and sees them "in context".
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The seemingly-endless series of actresses -- including a few cameos by big names -- trying unsuccessfully to wiggle their noses like Elizabeth Montgomery.
  • Throw It In: During pre-production, Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman took part in an improvisational exercise to help them get in-character. The entire thing so amused Nora Ephron and the rest of the production team that they inserted it word-for-word into the script as an improvisational exercise between Jack and Isabel, right down to Kidman's plaintive "can we please stop this?" at the end.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The vast majority of magic performed in front of the Muggles -- when Isabel gets angry, for instance -- doesn't actually seem to register with the people around her.
  • The Voiceless: Samantha is this in the remake in order to turn it into a vehicle for Jack; after Isabel discovers this, she got a bit upset.
  • Witch Species: Exists in-universe, maintaining a very similar Masquerade vis-a-vis the mortal world as in the original Bewitched.