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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

WOLF is an excellent movie directed by Mike Nichols. It is not a horror show although there are some pretty gruesome images. It is not a love story although there is some major heat between the two attractive stars, Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. It is not a story about big business although that is the underlying subtext of the entire plot. What is it then? I think it is a character study of two people's relationship somewhat with each other, but more with life.

In the very first scene in the movie, Jack is bitten by a wolf and his troubles and joys begin. His senses, especially smelling and hearing, become superhuman. Early on too, he realizes what a lousy marriage he has and how great Pfeiffer is and could be. He is married to Kate Nelligan, who was so wonderful in EYE OF THE NEEDLE, and his marriage is not working.

At the office Jack is a senior editor for a publishing house which is being taken over by a ruthless billionaire (Christopher Plummer). Jack may or may not lose his job in the process to his own protege, James Spader (whose best role was in SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE).

The acting of a young slimeball by Spader is right on the mark. Plummer plays his usual bad guy, nothing special. Nelligan has a not very well written role as the wife but does a plausible job. The star of the show for me was Pfeiffer. She seems to get younger and more beautiful in every movie she is in.

Jack plays the wolf role to the hilt, BUT regardless of how smart it was to cast him in the title role, thus adding tens of millions of dollars to the box office take, I had trouble seeing a fat older man as a wolf. Maybe if they made him up to look a bit younger and he had lost 20 pounds, I could have believed it was him leaping so high and far. Don't get me wrong, I liked him in it, and he did his best, still I think the role was badly miscast.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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