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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 Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Some concepts are timeless. "Alfie" is not. The 1966 British film starring Michael Caine delved into class distinctions and had then-relevant social significance about the hedonistic Mod lifestyle. This flimsy remake is simply a contemporary portrait of a charming cad.

Transposed from London to New York, Alfie (Jude Law) is a smooth sexual predator who larks about on a Vespa, noting that the Big Apple has "the most beautiful birds in the world." His serial seductions include a neglected wife (Jane Krakowski) and his "semi-regular, quasi-sort of girlfriend" (Marisa Tomei), a single mother with a young son. Then, over the Christmas holidays, he becomes involved with a glamorous cosmetics executive (Susan Sarandon) and a sexy, substance-abusing party girl (Sienna Miller, Law's new off-screen love). And there's an ill-fated one-night stand with his buddy's (Omar Epps) estranged girl-friend (Nia Long).

Outrageously stylish and handsome, Jude Law is tart and trendy where Michael Caine was a calculating misogynist. Caine was a contemptible Cockney; Law is just a shallow Eurotrash jerk.

Director Charles Shyer, who co-wrote the screenplay with Elaine Pope, has utilized much of Bill Naughton's original concept, including having the naughty lothario talk directly into the camera, thereby taking us into his confidence about his various conquests. However, unlike the 1966 film, this "Alfie"unfortunately lacks a climactic drama to complete the character arc. To his credit, Shyer does retain the original song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, along with several diverting musical interludes with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and John Powell. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Alfie" is a style-over-substance 5. So what's it all about?

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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