Hotter Than Hades

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) is your average office worker. Timid, shy and lonely, he's head over heels in love with a co-worker, Alison Gardner (Frances O'Connor). Unable to work up the courage to ask her out, he throws in his lot with the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley) who grants him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. The contract is signed, sealed and delivered, and Elliot embarks on a journey that will change his life forever.

Based on the 1967 classic starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, the star of this movie is the sparkling script, written by Ramis, Larry Gelbart and Peter Tolan. Chock-a-block with one-liners, repartee, wit and humour, the dialogue is a substantial contributor to the success of this movie.

One of the other reasons that the movie will click with audiences is that the situations in it have been updated, so as to make the story more in tune with the modern, urban mind. For example, the Devil claims to have offices in hell and Los Angeles, zips around town in a black Porsche, owns a dance club, can be reached on a pager, and is dressed in a designer wardrobe which complements her killer looks.

The performances by key actors are satisfactory. Elizabeth Hurley plays the role of the Devil, a sexy, naughty siren who exudes attitude. Her delicious Brit accent, drop-dead gorgeous figure and flair for the dramatic make her a thoroughly entertaining performer.

Fraser, last seen in "The Mummy" (released 1999) plays the fuddy-duddy, brown-nosed geek whose need for recognition and respect make him desperate. Driven by his need to get Alison, he fumbles with the correct words and choices that go into making each wish. His versatility cannot be ignored - he plays a Spanish drug lord, an intellectual writer, the American President, a basketball superstar and an over-sensitive crybaby with equal aplomb. The exaggeration of each character type will have people chuckling.

France O'Connor plays the role of a charming, young lady who is altered by the Devil to suit Elliot's fantasies. Her role is a supporting one and is performed energetically and convincingly.

"Bedazzled", directed by comedy veteran Ramis of "Analyse This" (1999) fame, finally sends you home with a moral message injected into the last few lines. Don't miss this one - you might burn in Hell!

This article was first published on 27 Dec 2000.