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One Night at McCool's

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: One Night at McCool's

Starring: Matt Dillon, Liv Tyler
Director: Harald Zwart
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: April 2001
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Michael Douglas, Paul Reiser, John Goodman, Andrew Clay, Reba McEntire, Richard Jenkins

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

In Harald Zwart's film noir comedy, ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOL'S, Liv Tyler plays a Lauren Bacall-type character known as Jewel Valentine. Jewel is a scam artist who steals men's hearts and homes. With wonderfully revealing dresses -- too revealing in the case of her surprisingly knobby knees -- she takes men's breath away. The camera has a love affair with her as well, pausing to soak up her reflected beauty whenever she enters a new man's life. The picture's most memorable sequence has her washing her car like a sex toy in something approximating a clothed version of a Playboy video. Water, she confides, is her second favorite thing in the world. The men are absolutely delighted to find out what's number one on her hit parade.

The story is told from the differing perspectives of three of the many males who orbit around her as their sexual sun. Each of them tells their story in flashback to someone else. The main story concerns a bartender aptly named Randy (Matt Dillon), a happy-go-lucky sort who thinks he has gone to heaven when he first spies Jewel in a tart red dress. Randy tells his tale of woe at a cheap bingo parlor to a sleazy man named Mr. Burmeister (Michael Douglas looking like Joe Pesci having a very bad hair day). Douglas's bouffant beehive turns out to be the funniest part of the picture.

Randy's cousin Carl (Paul Reiser), a cocksure lawyer who brags to everyone he meets that he is a partner in the second biggest law firm in the state, tells his story to his new psychiatrist (Reba McEntire). An obnoxious married man with two kids, he thinks that he is irresistible to females.

Finally, a love-struck Detective Dehling (John Goodman) confesses his transgressions to an almost panting Father Jimmy (Richard Jenkins) who drinks out of the communion chalice while hearing all of the sordid details of the detective's trysts. When the detective isn't pining for Jewel, he investigates the murders that keep cropping up around her.

Although the movie does have its moments, it is an uneven and fairly forgettable comedy that produces only sporadic laughter. There's no reason to see it, but, if you do go, you'll probably have a decent time. Whatever you do, don't make a trip to the concession stand until you've enjoyed the car wash sequence.

ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOL'S runs 1:33. It is rated R for violence, sexuality and language and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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