In fact, the difference between both films is the perfect measure of the difference between British and American comedy without wishing to overstretch analogies, you could even argue that it represents the difference between both countries culturally. Britain is a country rooted in a firm class hierarchy and as a result its comedy is frequently bitter and resigned to life being the way it is; America, on the other hand, is a supposedly classless society that was founded by the Puritans and prides itself upon democracy and as a result its comedy lacks savagery, is nice to everybody and there is always a positive uplifting moral at the end. That is in essence the difference between both versions of Bedazzled. Bedazzled 1967 is a conte cruel where the filmmakers rail against the inherent meanness of what is inflicted upon the hapless hero; in Bedazzled 2000, The Devils twists are less cruel than they are the punchline of a joke. In Bedazzled 1967, there is something deliciously appealing about Peter Cooks pranks, ripping out the last pages of whodunnits, flipping parking meters, being mean to old ladies and so on; but the same here only registers as juvenile wit. At most, Bedazzled 2000s scenarios have an amusing cuteness to them, especially in seeing Brendan Frasers various transformations as a Columbian drug dealer speaking subtitled Spanish; into the worlds most sensitive guy, a geek with tousled red hair and freckles; and a giant-size parody of Denis Rodman but the way the film wheels out each transformation it is intended as the set-piece in itself where we are supposed to applaud the cuteness of Brendan Frasers transformation, not the inherent humour in the scenario.
There is little that is funny in the film itself. Every gag is spelt out for its audience. This is all the more disappointing considering that it is directed by Harold Ramis, the comedy actor turned comedy director who has made several forays into fantasy (see below). Ramiss other films show a good understanding of the mechanics of mainstream comedy so exactly why Ramis allowed the machinery of the A-budget film to wring all the comedy, the irony, even anything approaching subtlety out of this film, is a mystery.
The worst part is probably the ending that dismisses all that has gone before in regard to Brendan Fraser selling his soul with a casual flick of the plot. This is followed by a coda where the hero doesnt get the girl but instead meets a lookalike. Unlike Bedazzled 1967, the remake reiterates a handful of conservative fantasy cliches that underdogs are better off accepting their lot in life and that to desire more than they have is to invite a cursed wish; that anything that is worth having is only that which is earned and won through self-determination; and that good-natured people that persevere will eventually get their due rewards.
Harold Ramis, an actor with a long comedy resume reaching back to the days of SCTV (1976-81), has also wrote popular 1980s hits like National Lampoons Animal House (1978), Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981) and Back to School (1986). He directed the likes of Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoons Vacation (1983), Club Paradise (1986) and Analyze This (1999). Ramiss other genre films include:- the great Groundhog Day (1993) featuring Bill Murray repeating the same day over again; the likeable cloning comedy Multiplicity (1996); and the prehistory/Biblical comedy Year One (2009). As scriptwriter, Ramis has also written Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989) and the story for Rover Dangerfield (1991).
(Winner Worst Sequel/Remake at this sites Best/Worst of 2000 Awards).