How About Brett Ratner Just Makes Beverly Hills Witch and Calls it Even?

ratner_shooter_teaserWe established long ago, well before Tower Heist was greenlit, that sorting out the many irons in Brett Ratner's directorial fire is something of a fool's errand. New projects seem to come and go from the filmmaker's slate every day, with a few priority projects like Beverly Hills Cop IV hang on for dear life (their stars' disinterest notwithstanding). And now you can add another "dream project" to the list.

Per the NYT:

Though he is committed to the Oscars and next plans to direct The 39 Clues, which [Jeff] Nathanson is adapting from the popular Scholastic adventure-book series, Mr. Ratner was busily conjuring up other future endeavors, including what he called his "dream project": a film version of the Broadway musical Wicked.

In response, perhaps, to the cocked brow of a reporter sitting opposite him, Mr. Ratner made the passionate case that he was ready to take on films that no one expected from him.

"People who played it safe, they weren't really going anywhere," he said. "They did the same thing over and over again. I've always challenged myself, and whether I failed or not, I didn't fail in my mind. I went through the experience, and it prepared me for the next time I'm going to do it."

Listen, I don't experience the same kneejerk sourness a lot of people seem to suffer upon hearing or reading Brett Ratner's name. The guy's nice, he works hard, he's ambitious, he's enthusiastic, he employs people, and I really couldn't care less how his X-Men movie stands up to those of Bryan Singer. I'd just like to offer a modest proposal for Ratner to not only scale down a bit, but actually combine his latest "dream project" with the old one -- Beverly Hills Cop IV -- to make something original and new:

Beverly Hills Witch.

This would basically take two exhausted concepts that nobody really wants onscreen and roll them into the perfect PG-13 starring vehicle for a Reese Witherspoon or Sandra Bullock, while leaving the barely breathing legacy of Eddie Murphy's trilogy of diminishing returns and the stagebound grace of the hit Wizard of Oz spinoff to maintain their own finite cultural niches. There is more money and more audience and maybe even more franchise reckoning to be wrung from the tale of a upper-crust glambot who, upon mistreating a lowly Jamba Juice employee who secretly happens to be training for wizardry, is served one of the young conjurer's experimental Hex smoothies.

She and her appalled family soon find her developing warts that no cosmetic procedure can cure, and demonstrating class-contorting powers that not even the highest-society movers and shakers can withstand. Shunned by her status-conscious husband, her smug teenagers and an insufferable social circle, the woman reconnects with the young smoothie wizard for an antidote, only for both of them to find their powers are unbeatable when paired for good. It's basically a recession-era morality tale with some sweet visual-effects opportunities and the chance for an A-list leading lady to showcase some comic chops in a possible franchise launch. And it avoids having to pretend patronizingly that there's a market for the rehashes Ratner has in mind. Move on, son!

Anyway, your mileage may vary! Other plot suggestions are more than welcome. Just make it worthy of Brett Ratner's "dream project," and you're in!

· Forget the Art House; He's Making Blockbusters [NYT]

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