Rough Magic

on May 30, 1997 by Kim Williamson
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   Adapted from the James Hadley novel "Miss Shumway Waves a Wand," this UGC production about a young magician's assistant (Bridget Fonda) who loses her heart and her powers on a journey through Mexico only to have them restored in the end by faith in the itinerant journalist (Russell Crowe) who loves her is an uneasy mix of genres. Elements of film noir, romantic adventure and magical realism collide, undercutting the eager efforts of the players.
   As crafted by Clare Peploe ("High Season"), wife of Bernardo Bertolucci, this Rysher acquisition has moments of otherworldly earthiness but in more diluted content than her husband's work. Characterization, though intriguing, wanders; happenstance too often rules a charmingly unusual narrative; a promising subplot involving the search for a magic Mayan elixir by an Englishman (Jim Broadbent) fails to lend depth; and the magic that'd be believable on the page seems impossible on the all-too-literal big screen.    Starring Bridget Fonda and Russell Crowe. Directed by Clare Peploe. Written by Robert Mundy and William Brookfield & Clare Peploe. Produced by Laurie Parker and Declan Baldwin. A Goldwyn release. Fantasy. Not yet rated. Running time: 105 min
Tags: Starring Bridget Fonda and Russell Crowe. Directed by Clare Peploe. Written by Robert Mundy and William Brookfield, Clare Peploe. Produced by Laurie Parker, Declan Baldwin, Goldwyn, Fantasy
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