There are two sorts of witches in the screen adaptation of Alice Hoffman's best-selling novel. The best sort are the kind played by Wiest and Channing; mad, crazy dames who delight in winding the townsfolk up with their witch-like ways. The worst sort is the Sandra Bullock drippy type, who doesn't really want to be a witch, and prefers to be normal. The most she'll do is stir her coffee by magic. Which is a pretty poor trick.
Sadly, Bullock is the one who has most screen time. Even worse, she gets to romance Aidan Quinn. Quinn, who seems to have walked onto the movie set after a very heavy week's partying, plays it like he can't murmur two words without slurring and looking bleary eyed.
Luckily sexy sister Gillian (Kidman) stops things becoming too dreary. She picks up a homicidal maniac boyfriend, kills him, un-kills him, then kills him again and then tries to get drippy Sally to help her out when said boyfriend invades her body and sucks her soul. The problem? All this seems like regular run-of-the-mill stuff for these witches.Take the living dead, who end up about as scary as bumper cars for under-fives.
And that, sadly, is the whole point. Witches have problems too, just like regular people, except sometimes they seem more boring. Hell, this brood of witches can't even fly properly: all we're treated to is a silly prancey jump and their feet.
More practical than magic, this romantic drama wastes its best moments and lacks any sorcery. Kidman, Wiest and Channing make the best of their screen time but Bullock is just too kooky to be cute and Quinn sleepwalks his way though it.