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Overall Rating

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 Erik Childress

"What’s It All About? Um, I Already Knew From The First One."
3 stars

The problem with Alfie is not that he’s a selfish, womanizing cad. Guys like him are a dime-a-dozen and we’re aware of the two paths they have in films: to either be reformed from his evil single lifestyle or to receive his ultimate comeuppance. Alfie is charming to a fault, but not an easy person to like. His biggest problem, however, is that while he lives in a self-designed world to satisfy the almighty “I”, he is also alone in the guilt trip he is forced to take for his universe is populated by equally selfish women; none of whom are along for the ride of responsibility.

Free-wheelin’ Alfie (Jude Law) still has the blood of an Englishman like his 1966 counterpart, Michael Caine, from the original. Planted in New York City like God’s backseat, booty callin’ gift to women, he’s got his own philosophy on dealing with the ladies. Actually it’s not much of a philosophy as it is some obvious male ABC’s, particularly when you’re as strikingly handsome as him. He rarely spends a night in his own apartment when somewhere across town a luscious lady is just waiting to feed him and on him, even if she’s unaware of it yet. In his ultimate wisdom, a man’s bottom line comes down to nothing more than the F-B-B’s (Face-Breasts-Bum). As a leg-man, I have to contest this theory.

The closest thing Alfie has to a relationship is with Julie (Marisa Tomei), a single mom whom he is more than willing to shoplift the pooty. In this area, and I hope Alfie is listening, I recommend never throwing the panties of one woman into the kitchen garbage of another. Me-to-you, big guy. He’s also got one guy friend, co-worker Marlon (Omar Epps) who is being given the 18-month ultimatum from girlfriend, Lonette (Nia Long). Alfie does what he can to placate Lonette, but his power of persuasion with speech isn’t nearly as beneficial as the good shaggin’ he can provide. What a guy, huh?

It’s here when Alfie’s world begins to implode on him and he’s put through a series of life-examining events as if God himself had a hand in the writing process. He’s just cheated on his best (and, apparently, only) friend, discovers he may be a father and even finds a lump on the most inconvenient of places. Like all forks-in-the-road for guys like Alfie, he changes his ways for about ten minutes before trying something serious with a drunken party girl (Sienna Miller) and getting a little on the side from a socialite sugarmommy (Susan Sarandon).

Alfie is hardly the wisest of chaps and even the sage-like advice he gets from his elders (“next time think before unzipping”) is hardly Confucious incarnate. One-word ads across the city (Desire, Wish, Search) are about as subtle as the subliminal alien brainwashing from John Carpenter’s They Live; a budget which must have ran out considering they disappear from the movie quicker than the laughs. Not to suggest that the serious side of Alfie’s plight sucks the laughter out of the piece; it’s just never there to begin with.

Charles Shyer has never been one to deliver the yuks successfully, which is funny considering he makes his living writing comedies, ones that are so light they float away and disappear just as quickly. His works with Nancy Meyer over the years (Baby Boom, I Love Trouble, two Father of the Bride remakes) have done nothing to impress. Their Dick-&-Jane showbusiness split from each other divided up the jokes even more and as community property, no lawyer would waste their time fighting for it.

Shyer’s adaptation (with co-writer Elaine Pope) of Bill Naughton’s original theatrical production and screenplay maintains the condemnation of Alfie’s hedonistic lifestyle. But what of the others whom Alfie could not exist without? The best friend’s gal who quietly makes Alfie feel like a heel for their tequila-induced pool table romp? The married woman who bitches him out for not calling her anymore? The party gal whose drunken bouts of rage and depression finally lead to Alfie dumping her for which she shoots back his experience with dumping girls? WHATTT????

If Alfie’s screenplay was meant to condemn every character with questionable morals, then surely it would have portrayed Alfie’s conquests as a little less self-righteous. Tomei’s character is about the only decent woman in the whole film and I’m convinced that Shyer and ex-partner Meyer have some grudge against her after this and her treatment in What Women Want. She doesn’t have the complexity of Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire and she’s left as an afterthought who we see spending more time with other men then her young son.

The only thing surfacing the material is a fabulous performance by Jude Law. It’s near impossible for Law to pull off the level of dorky quirkiness that Michael Caine brought to the role as opposed to a GQ coverboy. Law’s class of handsome brings him women higher in the looks department then Caine’s frumpy, mousy encounters with the likes of Shelley Winters. Law, despite being in every movie released in 2004, has yet to embue his characters with the same traits twice and we can feel his pain in the latter half even if we don’t care for him.

Alfie plays more like a Republican cautionary tale from the 80s warning against illegitimate parenting, abortion and diseases that infect your penis. Shift the blame to one person and accept no personal responsibility for yourself. Alfie may be all suave and cosmopolitan, but his story plays like an issue of the women’s magazine. Even Mick Jagger’s solid original songs for the film (no doubt to be the recipient of this year’s “let’s give the aging rocker some props” Oscar nomination) play like a feminized version of the old rockin’ Stones tunes. Shyer opens the film with a shot focusing on Superman’s crotch and we all know what happened to him, despite it not all being his fault. God rest his soul. 2004’s Alfie shows a lot of preaching from the view of glass houses and from people I certainly don’t want to see practicing.

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originally posted: 11/05/04 16:07:19
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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
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  05-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 15-Mar-2005



Directed by
  Charles Shyer

Written by
  Charles Shyer
  Elaine Pope

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

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