Directed by Nora Ephron, starring Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Heather Burns and Carole Shelley.

There's a lot of magic lacking in 'Bewitched' - a film about the remake of the once-popular television series of the same name. While the characters from the original were magnetic, the script this time around lets those portraying them down. And a potentially funny trip down memory lane becomes an exhausted rehash.

Nora Ephron's past credits have included romantic flicks 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You've Got Mail'. With 'Bewitched' she steps into the same familiar territory, and with the usual ingredients of two Hollywood actors at the top of their game at her disposal, it's an even greater shame that this one doesn't live up to its potential.

Isabel Bigelow (Kidman) is a very talented witch who is tired of using her extraordinary magic powers to fix everything in her life. For once she wants to be normal - to get caught in a thunder storm, to rent a house, to cook dinner - and do all the things that ordinary people do. But, unfortunately for her, circumstances are about to conspire against her, as actor Jack Wyatt (Ferrell) and her father Nigel (Caine) are determined not to let her lead a quiet life. While her father frowns on her shunning her background in witchcraft, Jack is completely oblivious to the double life that Isabel is leading, seeing her only as a beautiful woman - and possibly the answer to his prayers.

Having taken on the role of Darrin in the remake of the 'Bewitched' series, has-been actor Jack needs a leading lady that will not steal any of his renewed limelight. And the plain and meek Isabel may be just the woman to play witch Samantha. But how will he convince her to return to a life of spells and broomsticks, if only on screen? It's all very predictable from here on in, with brief comic moments added by Jack's enthusiastic assistant Ritchie (Schwartzman), busy-body actress Iris (MacLaine), Isabel's crazy friend Nina (Burns) and her neighbour Maria (Chenoweth).

Nicole Kidman is her usual beautiful self, seeming to effortlessly get into the character of Isabel with a real passion. But she is let down by a weak script that has passed up way too many opportunities to maximise the comic nature of the story. If you haven't become allergic to seeing Will Ferrell's face everywhere you go then he's not likely to be overly offensive here, playing his usual choice of goofy character. Acting legends Caine and MacLaine are perhaps underused, considering the natural charisma they both bring to their respective roles.

Giving the original 'Bewitched' series the film treatment would possibly have been more entertaining than a movie about a remake of the television show. Or perhaps if we had seen a little more of the magic of the characters that inspired the original show then the overdose of Will Ferrell might just be tolerable.

Far from leaving you spellbound, 'Bewitched' begins a fun little romp but in the end lacks that dazzling sparkle.

Linda McGee