"Devil in a Red Dress"
What You Need To Know:
BEDAZZLED has some pretty funny situations. Hurley and Fraser play their roles with all the devilish charm and comic bravado they can muster. BEDAZZLED also has some strong moral, redemptive messages. For instance, the movie tells viewers that our souls really belong to God. The movie also extols the virtue of making a “selfless act of redemption.” These positive elements are spoiled, however, by foul language, sexual elements and a couple goofy religious ideas, including a New Age pagan view of heaven and hell
(Pa, FR, Ab, Ho, BB, C, LL, V, S, N, A, DD, M) New Age pagan worldview with a false religious view of heaven & hell, a scene containing an encounter with a Roman Catholic priest who is ineffectual in solving protagonist’s problem & Satan changes man into homosexual intellectual with an effeminate lover, plus some strong moral & redemptive messages, especially near the movie’s end; 14 mostly mild obscenities, 2 strong profanities, 4 mild profanities, & one obscene gesture; mild slapstick violence such as pratfalls & man chased by drug dealers with guns shooting; attempts to fornicate are foiled & movie contains some other sexual references including several innuendoes about man’s private parts in one extensive scene; upper male nudity, skimpy costumes on woman & implied nudity; alcohol use; smoking & Satan turns hero into rich & powerful drug dealer but he rejects that lifestyle & runs away from it; and, man finds his wife has been committing adultery & co-workers mistreat the office nerd.
Harold Ramis likes to make comedy movies. He often makes very funny comedy movies, either as a writer (GHOSTBUSTERS, STRIPES) or as a writer and director (CADDYSHACK, GROUNDHOG DAY and ANALYZE THIS). His latest movie is BEDAZZLED, a loose remake of the 1967 cult favorite starring Dudley Moore and his late comedy partner Peter Cook. The new movie shares some important affinities with GROUNDHOG DAY, which is perhaps the finest, funniest concoction from Ramis so far.
The ads for the new BEDAZZLED pretty much tell you what the movie is: Brendan Fraser, from the MOVIEGUIDE® Award winning GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE, plays a poor schmuck named Elliot who sells his soul to the Devil, played by sexy British actress Elizabeth Hurley, in order to get a girl. The Devil promises Elliot seven wishes and gives him a red phone to use in case things go wrong. The number to use – 666 of course.
Naturally, things go wrong each time for Elliot. (After all, he is dealing with the Devil.) In the end, however, Elliot learns a few valuable lessons and, by accident, finds a moral way to break his contract with Satan.
The situations Elliot finds himself in during each of the seven wishes are pretty funny for the most part. Each wish creates a marked change in Elliot’s appearance and circumstances. For example, in one instance he’s a Columbian drug lord with long hair, and in another instance he’s an excruciatingly sensitive guy with freckles and an overbite. Fraser plays all of these roles with aplomb, but the real star of the show is Hurley, who plays Satan with all the devilish charm she can muster.
Like Bill Murray’s character in GROUNDHOG DAY, Elliot’s transformations leave him a little bit wiser each time. Eventually, he runs into a godlike character or angel, in the form of a common man. The man tells him, “You can’t sell your soul. It doesn’t really belong to you in the first place. It belongs to God. The Devil is going to try to confuse you.” These are some really great moral and spiritual truths, but BEDAZZLED doesn’t stop there. It also tells viewers that they can’t really improve their lives by using magic. Nor will fame, fortune, popularity, and sophistication bring them happiness. Finally, the movie specifically extols the virtue of making a “selfless act of redemption.”
Unhappily, however, BEDAZZLED also tells viewers that people make their own heaven and hell here on earth. It’s their choice. This false religious idea reflects the New Age Buddhist worldview of Harold Ramis, who recently described himself in the Los Angeles Times as “Buddhish.” The last shot of the movie, in fact, shows the new Elliot walking off down the sidewalk in fast motion while a Buddhist monk sits motionless on a bench. Thus, BEDAZZLED appears to have a New Age pagan worldview, despite its strong moral and redemptive messages. In this light, it is important to note that Elliot’s visit to a beautiful Roman Catholic church, with an eye-catching cross of Jesus Christ hanging over the altar, and talk with a priest don’t help him in his final struggle with Satan.
The danger to this kind of paganism, of course, is that it can lead people down false, meaningless paths to personal salvation, instead of the truth of Jesus Christ. Like Hurley’s depiction of Satan, such paths can seem very enticing, but the flames of Hell, in reality, lurk behind them. As Jesus says about Himself in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Who needs Buddha when you can have Jesus?
BEDAZZLED also includes some foul language, most of which, however, is not the strong R-rated kind. The movie also deals with some sexual issues. For example, when the Devil makes Elliot a famous basketball star, he talks with Alison about taking her up to his house for sex. Although their plans are comically interrupted, there is some strong sexual innuendo in the dialogue. In another scene, homosexuality becomes an issue. It is mostly these sexual issues which make BEDAZZLED a disturbing moviegoing experience, in spite of its PG-13 rating.