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Overall Rating
3.23

Awesome: 3.33%
Worth A Look42.22%
Average: 31.11%
Pretty Bad: 21.11%
Total Crap: 2.22%

10 reviews, 30 user ratings


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Alfie (2004)
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by PaulBryant

"Jude Law = pseudo-charming = extremely annoying."
2 stars

The first scene of Alfie sets up the entire movie. An obnoxious Jude Law speaks to us, meaning directly towards the camera (a la your local newsman), about how fantastic his life as a womanizing Englishman living the New York fast lane is. If you don’t like this first scene, you’ll be better off walking out, and if you do, you'd better get used to it, there are a lot of clones.

Theoretically, Jude Law should be a very charming man. He's very good-looking, he’s English (which seems to always bump someone’s sophistication level up a bit in North American terms), and has the physique of underwear model. Despite these,superficial amenities, his character has absolutely zero appeal. Law's Alfie is a little too giddy in explaining to us just how charming he is - or thinks he is - and ends up telling us about his brilliance far too often. James Bond was charming because he was so cool, so smooth – he never told us he was smooth, he just was. The Alfie character IS smooth, but he's constantly concerned with proving it to us, and so nixes it. The fourteen to nineteen year old female market must have been Alfie's target demographic, as anybody else will be able to see quite quickly through his paper-thin layer of charisma.

Alfie’s New York isn’t the Martin Scorsese New York. It is glitz and glamour, not gore and gutters. Not that the movie should be gritty in any way, but the added phoniness, and stylized perfume-ad photography doesn’t help a movie where everyone involved seems to be trying just a bit too hard. The art department shows a requisite amount of heavy-handed symbolism, erecting giant posters around the city which dwarf Alfie preaching “Pursue”, “Wish”, and “Desire”. Subtle, fellas, real subtle.

Not having seen the original, I luckily have nothing to compare this movie to. Remakes always have the difficulty of trying to live up to the reputation of the original. The Alfie of 2004 as its own movie, is pretty lousy, no matter what kind of the first one had. I can see the part suited more to Michael Caine, whose subtle, self effacing wit has endeared him to audiences for decades. He’s certainly a more obvious choice that Jude Law- a twitchy, loud, grinning git whose comic talents are rather suspect.

Knowing that Jude Law is coming out with a truly heroic number of Hollywood flicks this year, it doesn’t bode well for him that Alfie (a would-be star vehicle, if he’d pulled it off) and I Heart Huckabees (where his pseudo-sexy supporting role fell flat) didn’t fare better. I think somebody might be in for a dose of deadly overexposure. His only decent scenes are the emotional ones, where Alfie realizes that he doesn’t have the great life he thought he did. He is exceptional after realizing he's lost his best friend, sobbing alone in his fancy new car, and powerful when he becomes enraged at why Susan Sarandon won't choose to date him exclusively.

Oh, yeah, Susan Sarandon is in this movie. Don’t blink or you’ll miss her. She plays the older, female version of Alfie quite well, breaking the stigma of Hollywood’s ‘young and younger’ mentality towards sexy female rules. We get the same miniscule amount of screen time from Marisa Tomei, who plays the most decent woman Alfie encounters, and who rightly snubs him. Why these two beautiful, Oscar-winning actresses picked tiny roles in a lousy remake is a little puzzling.

In the end we get an ‘Alfie reformed’ scene, where Law gets to apologize to someone he has hurt, then ruminate about all those he’s hurt in the past. This scene was painfully inevitable throughout the entire movie – I know I was dreading it. Worse yet, the director decides to let Alfie tell us exactly what he is thinking, feeling, and will change for the future. Dear God, make it stop! I suppose it was a necessary scene for the movie (which leads me to wonder whether the movie itself was necessary) but I was begging for the end credits, and they couldn’t have rolled fast enough.

In a couple of months Alfie will be completely forgotten. Don’t look for a re-re-make in another forty years. Maybe I’ll have to go out and see Michael Caine’s version of Alfie Elkins to see if the character’s journey would have been more watchable with a charming front man.

Here’s hoping Caine’s final soliloquy isn’t as labored or painful as Law’s.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11120&reviewer=364
originally posted: 11/10/04 20:27:08
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User Comments

1/14/10 Samantha P jude law does a great job in a kind of alright movie. 3 stars
2/04/08 art an excellent remake sienna miller is a perfect 10 jude law fill's micheal caine's shoe's 4 stars
5/03/07 David Pollastrini Just OK 3 stars
12/25/06 Jackie Jude Law did an outstanding job only reason i give it 4 stars movie in general not so great 4 stars
5/22/06 Diane P really looking forward to this one but very disappointed in it 2 stars
3/11/06 Tanya it was okay could have been better 3 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Definitely a guide for men on how not to be. 3 stars
5/22/05 JFK average movie, but worth a look for the music 4 stars
5/16/05 Jim A semi-interesting portrait of a sort of cad 3 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan Ending isn't very good 4 stars
3/25/05 Trish Rucker See the original instead! 3 stars
3/21/05 Kyle I thought it was really good. Felt sorry for him at the end. 4 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN this sleeping dog should have been let lie ...leave well enough alone 3 stars
3/11/05 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter The Emptiness he has has to be filled in by women he ins and outs. 4 stars
2/23/05 Joseph Venanzi first Italian Job now Alfie. What's next remaking M. Cain's Last Valley? 2 stars
2/21/05 fiona I felt like they expected me to like the character, Alfie. I didn't. lame. 2 stars
2/11/05 Sharon Davis not as good as the old one 3 stars
2/09/05 Al Guy Not as "real" as the original. Ok. 3 stars
2/06/05 Cassandra Farrar great job by all 4 stars
2/04/05 sue ostergard This one seems pretty dumb to me. 2 stars
1/27/05 Roz The film wins some style points but doesn't come up to the original. 3 stars
12/30/04 Candace Troy Powers Yep! I can only pity anyone desperate enough to fuck Susan Sirhandon & Marisa Ptomaine! 2 stars
12/30/04 Valerie Jones Why should Alfie get blamed for never meeting anyone worth "committing" to? 2 stars
11/14/04 Joe Smaltz I must be becoming Movie junkie; I was in awe of the cinematography , photography, Editing 4 stars
11/12/04 Andrea great actor, lousy film...bring back Michael Caine 2 stars
11/11/04 nicole it was awesome jude law looker hot in it too ;) 5 stars
11/11/04 Naka Nope! 1 stars
11/10/04 impartial judgement lame and boring 1 stars
11/09/04 kris jude law was very stylish and sexy. And his downfall was displayed very well. 5 stars
11/06/04 Kris Jude was great. Looked great, too! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 15-Mar-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Jan-2005


Directed by
  Charles Shyer

Written by
  Charles Shyer
  Elaine Pope

Cast
  Jude Law
  Marisa Tomei
  Omar Epps
  Susan Sarandon
  Nia Long
  Jane Krakowski



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