Directed by Charles Shyer.
Written by Elaine Pope and Charles Shyer. Based on a
play and the 1966 film written by Bill Naughton.
Starring Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Nia Long and Susan Sarandon.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 10/22/04
Many moons ago, well before the creation of
motion pictures, someone decided that if you write a story with,
let's say, a traditional three-act structure, you can't go off and
have all three acts be about the same thing. I'm not sure
which person or group of persons decided that had to be the case,
because literally thousands of artistic works have died because what
is established in the first act is tampered with for acts two and
Now, I mention this because in the new
remake of "Alfie" (seen thanks to freebies from my friend Tricia), I
think we would have an instant classic on our hands if the film was
just about Alfie being a bastard. See, we start this film with
Alfie (Jude Law) going about his social playboy ways quite merrily,
a transplant from the U.K. that has come to New York to live life to
its fullest...if, by "fullest", we mean to describe "hangin' out
with as many hot women as possible, with the least amount of
emotional attachment imaginable." So, we watch Alfie finish up
with a dissatisfied rich housewife (Jane Krakowski) before skating
over to his single mom weekly booty call (Marisa Tomei) and then
slapping around all manner of famously beautiful women...at least,
for the first half-hour of the film. Alfie also has a habit of
speaking directly to the camera, which works early on because he is
spouting off about how much he loves women, and how aware he is that
he is a bastard for being the "love 'em and leave 'em" type.
Then, the film goes off and gets serious.
And we also get annoyingly 90's touches like having Alfie walk by
huge billboards with one-word descriptions of mood, while pretending
to not see them himself. And, it seems to be raining a hell of
a lot, matching the newfound sorrow in Alfie's life.
And, in Act III, we get what might be the
longest series of almost-endings since
"LOTR: Return of the King" last winter. Seriously, I
counted at least four legitimate times where "Alfie" should have
been over, and then it just wasn't, and I was irate. At least
in "Return of the King", we can justify dragging out an ending for
15 minutes, since there were NINE PREVIOUS HOURS OF FILM that needed
to be wrapped up.
This all makes "Alfie" quite an ordinary
film, with some very funny moments and some really great scenes
mixed with unwanted dramatic elements and some plain ol' uninspired
direction. The characters are excellent. For instance, I
loved Jude Law's performance of Alfie. I loved Nia Long as
Lonette, the girlfriend of Alfie's business partner that is pivotal
to the drama taking place mid-film. More and more I feel like
Marisa Tomei is one film away from getting to star in some big
Oscar-worthy drama, because she has been consistently strong in
these thankless supporting parts ever since "What Women Want" and
"In the Bedroom." I even liked Sienna Miller as the
cracked-out, one-dimensional Nikki, Alfie's girlfriend through much
of the later stages of the film. And the little quips that
Alfie shoots out in the early going about the dating world and some
of his advice are great.
But, as Tricia's friend Nate said after the
film, the movie built up so much on the womanizer angle in the early
going that you almost wish the filmmakers had just stuck with that,
instead of trying to build the story around feeling sorry for
Alfie's choices and watching him dig out of trouble time and time
again. It was like lost goodwill for me after a while, and I
found myself just wanting "Alfie" to end after I found that he was
going to try and suddenly feel sorry for himself for not committing
to all of these lost relationships. Daddy no likey.
This one was tough, but for both men and
women at least "Alfie" provides great sights and some good laughs
intermittently through the film. I just wish somebody would
make a movie about something and try to stick with it for 90
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard