By Stephanie Zacharek
By Robrt L. Pela
By Aaron Cutler
By Amy Nicholson
By Simon Abrams
By Chris Klimek
By Nick Schager
By Stephanie Zacharek
Despite my affection for Bewitched, I'm not dismayed that Sony Pictures has made my favorite TV show into a film. I don't really care. I was pleased to read that scriptwriters Nora and Delia Ephron have resisted the temptation to simply rehash the show's pilot (which is generally what happens with these sitcom-to-big-screen movies), but, in order to entertain a Bewitched spaz like me, the Ephrons would have had to make a movie no one else wants to see. They'd have had to cast 19 different Bettys. I'm guessing Betty doesn't even appear in the Bewitched movie.
In order for me to really enjoy a Bewitched movie, now-middle-aged twins Erin and Diane Murphy, the third and final set of twins to share the part in the original series, would have to reprise their role as the Stephens' wacky daughter, Tabitha. In fact, I would only be satisfied if the Murphy gals played Tabitha simultaneously, reciting their lines in unison. The film people would have to build an animatronic Paul Lynde to reprise the role of swishy Uncle Arthur, and somehow convince Nicole Kidman to also play Serena, Samantha's hookah-smoking, orgy-attending hippie cousin. They'd have to hire 100-year-old Charles Lane to reprise any of the eight roles he played in the series, or at least to have Will Ferrell's Darrin disappear halfway through the film, to be replaced by, say, Jim Carrey -- with absolutely no explanation as to why one of the principals was suddenly a different guy.
Of course none of this is going to happen. In the new film, the Stephens will eat off the wrong dishes (in the series, their dinnerware was a Harker pattern called Springtime); they'll live somewhere other than 1164 Morning Glory Circle in Westport, Connecticut; the set designer will have hung a mirror in the Stephens' entry hall, rather than the print of Rembrandt's Girl With a Broom that's supposed to be there. I'm sure that Nicole Kidman will make a lovely Samantha, and that the digitally enhanced nose-wiggling and special effects will be magnificent. But I think I'll skip the Ephrons' Bewitched. Without all the inconsistencies, the sexy subtext, the five different actors who played Aunt Hagatha, it just won't be the same. I prefer my sitcom witches to be deeply flawed, my junky television to reside on the small screen. I think I'll stay home and watch my newly colorized Bewitched: Season One DVDs instead. Who knows? Maybe I'll find a new Betty.
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