Apr 23, 2010

[Movies] Alfie (2004)

Alfie (2004)I tend to select movies based on their potential merit, depending on the genre. Some movies I wanted to see in the theater because of the promise of amazing special effects. Other times I want to watch a particular drama because of the rave reviews for the story or the acting. There's always something about a movie that draws me in and makes me want to go out and invest time or money or whatever.

Then there are the movies that are shamelessly stupid that I venture into for very, very shallow reasons. Yes, despite my geekiness, air of responsibility and all good boy stuff, I'm man enough to admit I watch certain movies for no other good reason than the "star factor", childhood nostalgia or physical appeal.

And no, I'm not referring to porn. At least not in this case.

So yeah, this is one of those movies that I saw for no other reason than some of the fun stuff I heard from a female friend of mine. Yay me.

The 2004 remake of Alfie, originally released in 1966, remains to be one of my more self-indulgent movies in my library. I've seen it very few times in my life, but it remains to be highly...memorable, no matter how you get around it.

at the 2007 Toronto International Film FestivalImage via Wikipedia

In this version, the titular role once played by Michael Caine was now played by Jude Law, and quite well too. Similar to the original, the movie involves us following Alfie around like some sort of big screen reality show. I say a reality show since he continually breaks the fourth wall by addressing the camera directly in order to discuss his reasons for doing things, his beliefs and principles and all that good stuff.

Alfie is hardly an angel. He's a highly promiscuous young man about town who's biggest skill is wining and dining women of all shapes, colors and sizes. He has a pseudo girlfriend in the form of single mother Julie (Marisa Tomei) but that's a strained relationship at best. And he has a best friend in the limousine company where he works named Marlon (Omar Epps), who in turn is determined to win back his ex-girlfriend Lonette (Nia Long). The movies on and on with Alfie meeting woman after woman (such as Susan Sarandon) and eventually dealing with the consequences one way or another.

The biggest (and very shallow) reason I enjoy this movie from time to time is the fact that Alfie's fourth wall breaking dialog involves Jude Law staring directly at the camera for more than half the movie. Now Jude Law is not drop dead gorgeous or anything like that, but the bastard really knows how to turn on the charm and he can really carry a suit or pretty much any clothing really, really well. So yeah, he's a lot of fun to look at and it makes you feel all tingly inside when he talks to the camera at certain moments.

Then there's the treatment of the movie overall, which had nice touches of trying to pay homage to the original. Beyond the musical touches here and there, there are fun moments with classic-style cutaways and split-screen montages that just work. Plus Jude is very model-esque in many of these stills and looks, well pardon the campy turn, fierce.

Despite pretty much following the story of the original movie, it doesn't quite carry the same weight as the previous incarnation. The movie for one reason or another lacks spirit and feels somewhat empty or shallow and ultimately not quite fulfilling. It's a decent movie, I'll give it that. It's just not something one goes out of his way to see again for the plot or anything like that. Any repeat viewing is probably just to enjoy Jude Law putting himself forward like that.

You know what I mean, right?

Alfie is a decent remake and a nice homage of sorts to the original movie. Its 3.5 fiery glasses of absinthe out of a possible 5.

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