Tag Archives: Nora Ephron

The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Betwitched (2005) & The Stepford Wives (2004)

For every brand new idea that has come out of Hollywood, there are reboots and revivals that try to present an old idea in a new way. Sometimes, these reboots and revivals are successful.  But most of the time, these reboots and revivals fall flat on their faces. Such is the case with Bewitched (2005) and The Stepford Wives (2004).

Bewitched

Based on the 1960’s television series of the same name, this remake stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Isabel Bigelow  (Nicole Kidman) is a witch who is determined to live her life without magic. Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) an actor with an ego bigger than the state of Texas,  is trying to revive his career. The vehicle to revive his career comes in a remake of Bewitched. Meeting Isabel randomly at a cafe, he offers her the part of Samantha opposite his Darrin. Isabel finds herself attracted to Jack, but Jack sees an unknown actress who can unknowingly play second fiddle to him.

Were the critics wrong? Nora Ephron was the director and co-writer on  this movie.  Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer, but not in this haphazard, sad attempt of a movie. Will Ferrell is one of the best actors Saturday Night Live has ever had on their stage, but he is not a rom-com leading man material. I will have to side with the critics on this movie.

The Stepford Wives

A modern reboot of the 1975 book and movie of the same name, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick star as Joanna Eberhart and Walter Kresby, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. Trying to revive their relationship, they move from Manhattan to the suburbs of Connecticut. But the town they move is very odd. The wives are oddly docile and submissive to their husbands. The husbands disappear behind the door of The Stepford Men’s Association.

Were the critics wrong? To be fair, I have never seen the original movie, nor have I read the book. Again, Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer. But she and Matthew Broderick are lacking in the chemistry department. The movie is trying to be a comedic thriller.  While the original movie was commenting on the then burgeoning feminist movement, this movie just tries too hard. For the second time, I will have to side with the critics on this movie.

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Throwback Thursday-You’ve Got Mail

Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy,  Humphrey Bogey And  Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Every era has it’s favorite pairings. Actors who work on several projects over the years and just work on screen together in their respective characters.

In the 90’s rom com’s were defined by one movie couple: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

They made three movies together. The third, You’ve Got Mail , premiered in 1998.

At the dawn of the internet age, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) are rivals in the book selling business. She owns a small, independent book shop. He works in the family business, owning Fox Books, a huge Barnes and Noble like chain bookstore.  They are also falling in love over the internet. Joe finds out who his internet pen pal is in in real life. He tries to win her over, but Kathleen still does not know that her internet pen pal and her business rival are one and the same.

Written and directed by the late rom com queen, Nora Ephron, You’ve Got Mail is not as cliche or as sappy and rom com movies have become since then. It’s got a zing, a life, an twist that is fun while still retaining the standards of a romantic comedy. And of course, the subtle nod to Pride and Prejudice never hurts.

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