Screenwriters Ephron and her sister Delia are able to get laughs and make character points even in the moments of laying out a fairly involved exposition, and that's no small thing. That's skilled craftsmanship.
After Kidman and Ferrell have hit all the expected marks (meet cute, encounter obstacles, fall in love, encounter fatal setback, fall back in love), the movie winds up being hoist on its own petard, becoming the butt of one of its own inside jokes.
Kidman is enchanting, true, and Caine, MacLaine and Chenoweth work hard, but even with the few good gags sprinkled throughout, you don't leave the theater smiling. The spell fades. The magic just isn't there.
Ephron casts a spell full of romantic-comedy charm even as it goes about the post-modern business of toying with our fondness for pop-cultural baubles like Bewitched. Consider the sparkling mood Ephron maintains as irreverent reverence.
Bewitched is respectful of its origin, and it's brave enough to go beyond the obvious. Unfortunately, it goes beyond in a somewhat wrong direction. As a result, this broom stick doesn't really fly, it just glides along.
Nora Ephron used to mine the tension between romantic fantasy and the real (disappointing) world for honest laughs. But now she has settled happily in big-budget star-studded chick-flick land, where it's all synthetic, all the time.
It's one of those movies where you smile and laugh and are reasonably entertained, but you get no sense of a mighty enterprise sweeping you along with its comedic force. There is not a movie here. Just scenes in search of one.