A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated R for sexual content, some language and drug use
Starring:Jude Law, Marissa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Omar Epps, Sienna Miller
Directed By:Charles Shyer
Who is Alfie? Well a little bit of Alfie lies in the heart of everyone in the world, or at bare minimum in the heart of every man. Alfie is the person who is a womanizer (or maninizer- is that a word ladies?). A person who doesn’t really worry about what he does, whom he hurts or really thinks about his actions before he carries out with them. He’s the person you want to be, because of his confidence, but hate him for the same reasons. He’s both a blessed and a cursed person, a hero or a villain and potentially in this films case, a box office failure.
Alfie is a remake of a 1966 film with the same name. Back then the film starred Michael Caine who has now aged quite a bit since. Stepping into Alfie’s shoes is Hollywood’s nearly overexposed poster boy, Jude Law. The story of Alfie introduces the audience to the life of Alfie, a man who is known as a womanizer all across town. But when things don’t go his way, Alfie has to learn the hard way the truth behind, love, friendship and happiness.
Jude Law is great in this flick. Jude Law finds a way to bring Alfie to life and finds a way to make you both love and loathe Alfie at the same time. His performance while flawed is still great to watch. He pretty much steals the screen every time he opens his mouth, especially when he is talking directly to the audience. Watching Jude Law over the last year, it’s easy to see why Hollywood has so much faith in the actor. He’s got talent, he’s charming (and he’s cheap to get yet compared to a lot of other list stars). The problem is that the public has not warmed up to Jude Law as quickly as Hollywood has. None of Law’s films this year have really had any box office clout and have been moderate successes at best. Mix that in with what many people call overexposure and Jude Law may have a somewhat Uphill battle. Personally I enjoy Jude Law and have for quite some time (probably since I first saw Gattica years back). I wish audiences would give him a shot, the guy could be a huge star. The problem is that Jude Law is in everything, kind of the same way Nicole Kidman or Ben Affleck were in a ton of films last year. Personally I think if Jude tones it down a bit and starts kicking out one film a year, sort of like Leonardo DeCaprio, he would be better off. That was the one thing Leo may have done right is not giving in to overexposure like he easily could have. I think Law could learn a thing or two from Leo, who is consistently in Oscar films and only really has to crank one major flick a year.
Supporting Characters do a decent job in the flick, especially Omar Epps whose role is small but still packs a punch. No pun intended since Epps last film was Against the Ropes, the Meg Ryan boxer flick that nearly tops the list of worst films of the year for me. The film also relied on the Talents of Susan Sarandon, Marissa Tomei and Sienna Miller (Jude Law’s current love interest) who all do a great job as well in making Alfie an enjoyable film.
The problem with Alfie lies in the story. The story is long and drug out, and feels like it is a lot longer than what it really is. The film goes through phases where it is moving quite quickly and it is really enjoyable. Then all of a sudden it starts droning on and on and starts to bore you before suddenly picking back up again. All in all there was just a little too much going on. The droning parts seemed to coincide with the moments where Alfie was not talking to the camera. However, when Alfie would talk to the Audience via talking to the camera the film would suddenly pick up pace and are enjoyable again. Just like High Fidelity with John Cusack (and a lot of other films), Jude Law finds a way to really captivate his audience’s attention by talking directly into the camera in way that the world around him doesn’t find a bit odd or for that matter even seem to notice. It’s moments like those that make this film fun. Mix that in with some great writing when it comes to both charming and smart aleck comments from Alfie and you have a film that has some really great things going for it.
Paramount Pictures was trying to tell everyone that Alfie’s lack of Success was because of the results of this year’s presidential election. I find that hard to believe. After all they never once looked inward and asked where did they go wrong? Perhaps it was releasing a film about a womanizer in a time when Family values seem to be on everyone’s minds. Perhaps it was lackluster and middle of the road reviews from critics. Or perhaps it was just because they didn’t leave enough stuff on the cutting room floor. There was a subplot that didn’t need to be there, the film seemed to suffer from it’s own inner demons of trying to decide which way it wanted to tell Alfie’s story. All in all it was an organized mess at times.
None the Less, I admit I do have a soft spot for Alfie. Despite it’s many flaws, I really enjoyed the flick for what it was. It’s another great performance by Jude Law and a decent story line. There is some great writing hidden in there as well. While I wouldn’t rush out to theaters to see it, don’t run away from Alfie either. It’s definitely worth a view or two. It’s decent flick, with a great cast, good story and a great ending. I’ll be buying it on DVD when it comes out; the least you could do is give it a chance by renting the DVD when it comes out.