"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