Bedazzled [1967]

Brendan Fraser stars in Bedazzled as Elliot, a dweebish office worker who yearns for Alison (played by Frances O'Connor from Mansfield Park), a coworker who barely knows he exists. When he blithely says he'd give his soul for Alison, the Devil appears (Elizabeth Hurley, Austin Powers) and says she'll give him seven wishes in exchange. Elliot is dubious at first, but agrees out of desperation. Unfortunately, his every wish always leaves the Devil a little wiggle room. When he asks to be rich and powerful, the Devil turns him into a drug lord beset on all sides. When he asks to be a successful, well-endowed writer, the Devil adds a male lover to the mix. The setup and situations are clever, though Bedazzled doesn't delve into any real moral or theological questions and has a little less bite than the original it's based on (from 1968, starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook). But it does provide some better comic substance than Fraser has had in most of his previous roles (George of the Jungle, Encino Man). Fraser demonstrated in Gods and Monsters that he could hold his own dramatically with the likes of Brit thespian Ian McKellen, and he's consistently been a charming presence in movies enjoyable (The Mummy) and not so enjoyable (Dudley Do Right). Bedazzled may not give him any more movie-making clout, but it does give his fans something to enjoy. O'Connor is entirely pleasant in her largely straight role, and Hurley fills out her part by delectably filling out a number of revealing outfits. An enjoyable bit of froth. --Bret Fetzer

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