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Alfie (2004)

Whats it all about?

Directed by:

Charles Shyer

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Country: United Kingdom, United States

You can’t help but feel the movie industry has developed something of an obsession with rehashing the high points on Michael Caine’s CV. Remember, it was just last year that some of us were unfortunate enough to sit through F. Gary Gray’s appalling take on The Italian Job. And who could forget the bizarre decision hand Sylvester Stallone the lead role in 2000’s ‘Get Carter’?

This new version of ‘Alfie’ is, thankfully, much better than either of those other remakes – but that couldn’t prevent me from wondering why anyone felt the need to make it in the first place. I mean, let’s face it, the original ‘Alfie’ is a film where not a lot actually happens – so the fact that it IS original is fairly important. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m saying it’s a bad film. It’s just that showing us it all again in this day and age seems a completely worthless exercise.

The man fronting that exercise is Jude Law. He steps into Caine’s shoes as the smooth-talking bed-hopping title character, a 30-something bachelor boy who lives his life like James Bond only without the career. He lives by a love ‘em and leave ‘em philosophy, discarding his used women like Rik Waller discards empty curry cartons, and generally having a bloody good time of it. But, as you’d expect, a moral lesson lurks on the horizon, and it’s not long before his perennial womanizing has left him in a spot of bother with some inner-demons.

Standing on its own, ‘Alfie’ is a decent enough film. Jude Law wears the character well – he’s got the good looks to pull the part off and his gradual transformation from carefree man-hussy to self-doubting misery-guts never falls short of believable. It’s also accompanied by a cracking original score penned by none other than Mick Jagger and The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. But it doesn’t really make the impact it wants to, and doesn’t expand enough on the original film to represent either an improvement or a notable variation. “What’s it all about?” is the question famously posed by ‘Alfie’ ‘66, but the query that was more prominent in my mind after watching this one was “what’s the point?”.

It's Got: An impressive string of conquests including Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Jane Krakowski, Nia Long and Law’s real-life bit-of-stuff Sienna Miller.

It Needs: At least ONE of those women to give him the slap it’s so obvious he needs from the very first scene.

Alternatives:

Alfie, The Last Minute

Summary

A reasonable movie, but one that’s steeped in irrelevance.

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