Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Elizabeth Hurley is the thinking man's Pamela Anderson."

Spot the intentional mistakes. No prizes.

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1. Delete "thinking".

2. Anderson can act.

Hurley plays the Devil in Harold Ramis's reworking of Peter Cook's Faustian comedy, which should have broken Pete'n'Dud in Hollywood, but didn't.

Hurley's incarnation as Satanne is an excuse for some serious haute couture costume changes. Despite cover girl looks and a husky Home Counties drawl, her sex appeal is manufactured. She plays the perennial flirt with the conviction of a supermodel, using lips, legs and the hint of cleavage. Mrs Roger Rabbit was more of a turn on.

The story of the office dumbo (Brendan Fraser), who does a deal with the Devil to make it with the secretary of his dreams (Frances O'Connor), is a seven wishes sketch job, giving the make-up department a reason to use Fraser as its guinea pig.

He goes through a series of comic characterisations, from a seven foot basketball star to the Oscar Wilde of New York society that benefits from his boyish energy. What they lack in subtlety, they gain in enthusiasm.

Fraser has shown in The Mummy, A Blast From The Past, and George Of The Jungle that he doesn't mind making a fool of himself, as long as it's for a good cause - i.e. the movie.

Ramis is no more successful with this clever idea than Stanley Donen was in 1967. The gags are broadly hit-or-miss - an Abe Lincoln episode is all miss - using Hurley as a clothes horse and Fraser as the fall guy. But O'Connor, the Australian actress who made such an impression in Mansfield Park, provides genuine style.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Devil offers the office goof seven wishes in exchange for his soul.
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Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan, Larry Gelbart

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O'Connor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein, Miriam Shor

Year: 2000

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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