Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alfie (2004)

Starring Jude Law, Nia Long, Marisa Tomei, et al
Rated R, 103 minutes

“Alfie” is a 2004 remake of a 1966 British film starring Michael Caine, which in turn was based on a novel and play by Bill Naughton. I haven’t seen or read any of those previous iterations, so this movie will not be judged against them.

Jude Law plays Alfie, a cool man about town who sleeps around and only makes as much money as he needs to maintain his charismatic swagger. As we catch up with him, he has a regular fallback tail in the form of single mother Julie (Tomei). Alfie’s friend and co-worker Marlon has cheated on his girlfriend Lonette (Long), but wants her back. He has Alfie put in a good word to win Lonette back. Apparently to Alfie, “a good word” means “his genitalia.” Meanwhile, Julie leaves him for other reasons. Alfie finds out he got Lonette pregnant. Life as a ne’er-do-care looks less attractive.

This movie was very erratic. It was funny, and it tugged at your heart. Things changed gears as often as Alfie changed partners. Once the movie hit the ground running emotionally, it worked. Alfie became less of a playboy and more of a person, with more heart than you would have given him credit for previously. It was hard to accept the breaking the fourth wall talking to the audience when the character of Alfie was not Joe Everyman. He’s very chic for somebody living so “modestly.” His looks are better than average. He basically seems above the audience until he reveals his heart later on.

I liked the cast. Jude Law gave a great performance under both arms of Alfie’s personality. Susan Sarandon was a surprise, and another highlight. Gedde Watanabe and Jane Krakowski were among the familiar faces in the lesser roles. The visual style meshed well with the character of Alfie. The locales came across as fashionable as he was. I liked the bold billboards used to convey themes. The unique soundtrack by Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart of The Eurhythmics also helped give the movie its character.


You were never really sure which set of characters was going to finish out the movie. “Alfie” was enjoyable, but frustrating to get into.

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