Sunday, May 29, 2005

What's it all about, Alfie?

I've never seen the 1966 film that starred Michael Caine, but this weekend I watched the current remake starring Jude Law. Based on a play by Bill Naughton, alfie is the story of an Englishman who's come to America, not to seek fame and fortune, but to womanize as many women as he possibly can. While that may seem a less-than-stellar motive, Law's all too charming performance as Alfie immediately wins you over to his side.

The film bombed at the box office, though after watching it, I haven't a clue as to why. Could be that Law's womanizing was played up too much to attract the female audience this type of movie thrives on, and not nearly enough to attract the interest of the "big dumb male action-junkies". It walks a fine line between standard romantic comedy, social satire and male fantasy, but director Charles Shyer does an excellent job of steering the film around the pot holes and speed bumps found in each of those genres.

The rest of the cast turns in pretty standard performances, with the exception of Nia Long, who holds her own with Law when the two share the screen. Susan Surrandon's performance as Liz is hands down the worst in the film, and still isn't bad, her character is just far too much a stereotype, making her action predictable as well as dispicable. Omar Epps brief role as Alfie's best friend Marlon is excellent, but he's barely in the film.

Bringing in Mick Jagger to compose some original tracks for the film certainly adds a lot. Though occasionally over-emotional, Jagger's songs add a great deal to the layers of the film.

It's a very good film, if for nothing else that Law's performance. I'll discuss more later if the mood strikes me, but for now I'm off to wish my Dad a happy birthday!


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