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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Alfie

Starring: Jude Law, Susan Sarandon
Director: Charles Shyer
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: November 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Jane Krakowski, Omar Epps, Nia Long, Marisa Tomei, Graydon Carter, Julienne Davis, Anastasia Griffith, Edward Hogg, Adoni Maropis, Sienna Miller, Claudette Mink, Marjan Neshat

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

"Shut up, all ready!" you'll be thinking as Alfie Elkins (Jude Law), a loquacious playboy/philosopher, insists on sharing every superficial thought about his superficial life with the audience. Too clever by half, ALFIE, a cliché of a story about a guy with commitment issues galore, is, of course, a remake of the 1966 film starring Michael Caine. This ode to the joy of chain smoking would make a great cigarette infomercial if tobacco companies were still allowed to show such things. Alfie's non-stop yammering is so dated that you can almost hear the dialog creaking.

Alfie is a limo driver who lives in a tiny apartment in which he rarely sleeps in. Blowing all of his money on clothes, women, cigarettes and booze, he reasons to us that "I've no desire to be the richest stiff in the cemetery." Speaking of stiffs, Alfie finds that his stressing out about relationships is causing him to have some unexpected performance problems.

The sad story wants us to feel sorry for this charming chap who tosses out beautiful girls like last week's garbage. He has it all but can't really be happy and certainly cannot commit to anything more substantial than a short series of one-night stands.

Alfie tries to teach us the ways of the bachelor lifestyle, with rules like avoiding single moms because they "come with accessories" -- his euphemism for kids. He's so irresistible that he has to be careful where he applies his magnetic appeal lest someone get too attached.

One thing you won't get is attached to is this film, which doesn't have a single genuine or sympathetic character. If Alfie were to get run over by a bus or catch a social disease, you probably wouldn't care in the slightest since you never believe his character for a minute. This is a real problem for a movie that tries to get all gooey and sentimental in the last act. I haven't seen the original in a long time. The new version certainly does not make me want to go out and rent the old one.

ALFIE runs 1:43. It is rated R for "sexual content, some language and drug use" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes

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