The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

Fraser Can't Save `Bedazzled' From Hurley's Sinful Acting

First, it was George Burns. Then came Al Pacino.

Now, it's Elizabeth Hurley - and I can say without a trace of doubt that the devil has never looked so good.

Hurley is the latest, and by far the hottest, actor to play the Prince of Darkness, in "Bedazzled."

A remake of the 1967 classic, "Bedazzled" is the story of lovesick nerd Elliot Richardson (Brendan Fraser), who is offered a deal few could refuse. He's given seven wishes and, in exchange, all he loses is his soul.

Elliot hopelessly pines over his co-worker, Allison (Frances O'Connor), who is completely unaware of his existence.

In an attempt to win her over, Elliot wishes to be all different sorts of men, each one ultimately failing to win the heart of his love.

Fraser, who decided to flush a perfectly good career down the toilet after making "School Ties," is apparently trying to reinvent himself, giving a surprisingly stellar performance as not one, but five different characters. Each character appears in his own skit as one of the alter-personae for each of Elliot's seven wishes (save two, one in which he asks for a Big Mac, and the all-important final wish).

As annoying as the trite plot line is, director Harold Ramis handles the movie much better than should be expected. Essentially a montage of character sketches, the story struggles to remain cohesive, but Ramis manages to tie everything together in a breezy, inconspicuous manner.

Hurley, on the other hand, still makes moviegoers wish she would stick to modeling and never open her mouth, except perhaps to lick her lips or blow erotic kisses.

More of an extremely stylish android than an actress, Hurley's pathetic attempt at "acting" is quite possibly the singular most insulting act ever committed against the theater world.

With Hurley's utterly abominable performance, Fraser is left with the sole responsibility of making the movie somehow enjoyable. Thankfully, the seasoned actor has picked up quite a knack for comedic acting somewhere between "Encino Man" and "George of the Jungle."

In fact, Fraser absolutely shines all throughout the film, from his portrayal of an ultra-sensitive, freckle-faced crybaby poet to a mustachioed Colombian drug lord.

Collectively, his performances could be reckoned with such comedic classics as Lemmon's and Curtis' gender-bending antics in "Some Like It Hot" and Peter Sellers' many facets in "Dr. Strangelove."

Even God himself, however, couldn't save this movie from mediocrity, as a tired, cliched plot and hollow performances from all of the supporting cast doom this movie to certain failure.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.


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