Cumberland Sunday Tlmes
Midler casts spell in movie
By James Pallot
July 25, 1993
HOCUS POCUS (PG) I suppose it’s appropriate that, in a movie about witches brought back from the dead after 300 years, most of the characters, plot lines and gags feel like they’re also enjoying a second lease on life.
Like “Th e Witche s of Eastwick,” “Hocus Pocus” offers us three New England women with a taste for all things devilish. Winifred (Bette
Midler) looks and sounds a lot like, well, Bette Midler in a witch’s frock; Mary (Kathy Najimy) is highly reminiscent of the character Najimy played in “Sister Act,” only dressed in a witch’s frock ; and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) is your basic boy-crazy, buxom blonde,
clad in a low-cut witch’s frock.
These three have a reasonable amount of fun hamming their way through a potluck plot that involves a spellDOok bound in human skin (think “Evil Dead“); a potion that would grant the witches eternal life (think “Death Becomes Her“); and a group of enterprising kids who must save the entire town from the forces of evil (think “TheGoonies”).
Apart from the youngest child, Dani, played by the exceptionally precocious Thora Birch, the kids are pretty charmless. But “Hocus Pocus’
remains entertaining thanks to a liberal sprinkling of jokes andthe sheer energy of Ms. Midler and her cohorts. Though it may not put a spell on you, there’s enough in the pot to keep things at a steady comic simmer.