Practical Magic

*

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The ladies act their socks off. To no avail. The plot saws itself in half... forever. The waste of talent is matched by the waste of time. The gist is: if you kill a guy who beats up on women and drinks like a fish, that's okay. Especially if you look as tasty as Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

The story is such a mish of literary mash that it fails to transfer to the screen with any grace, or wit. It is a white witch fable of two sisters who don't want the power. Sally (Bullock) thinks normal is cool. Gillian (Kidman) walks on the wild side and is seen in the company of biker trash, with designer stubbles and "GQ" profiles.

There is something else. A curse. Men who fall in love with them are doomed to die young. Sally marries a nice boy in the fruit'n'veg biz, has two kids and then WHAM! - big truck blues and widow's weeds. Gillian hangs out with an Eastern European bad boy, called Jimmy (Goran Visnjic), who says he desires her so much he wants to strangle her. She calls Sally for help and together they off him instead.

The rest is a what-to-do-with-the-corpse caper, plus a bit of ghostly special effects, a pagan exorcism and the arrival of Gary (Aidan Quinn), a dull-as-pond-water detective, on the trail of the missing drifter (if Jimmy was a drifter, when did anyone notice he was gone?) Sally's so desperate for a man, she finds this cloddish plod dishy, while Gillian is writhing around the floor with the spirit of a dead Bulgarian inside her (don't ask).

Bullock has no luck finding decent roles. She's a sensible sort, who prefers not to frighten the horses, although, it must be said, in shrunk tee shirt and cut-off jeans, she's way wicked. Kidman loves to flirt. She wears mini skirts and slit dresses and baby doll shower robes to give those long legs an airing. She looks too good to be strutting stuff in a movie that's two toads short of a magic potion.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Practical Magic packshot
Two white witches are shackled with a curse that makes men who fall in love with them meet an untimely demise.
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Director: Griffin Dunne

Writer: Alice Hoffman, Robin Swicord

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Goran Visnjic, Aidan Quinn, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexandra Artrip, Mark Feuerstein, Caprice Benedetti, Annabella Price

Year: 1998

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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