© United International Pictures GmbH

U.S.A./U.K. 2004

Opening 10 Mar 2005

Directed by: Charles Shyer
Writing credits: Bill Naughton, Elaine Pope, Charles Shyer
Principal actors: Jude Law, Jane Krakowski, Marisa Tomei, Omar Epps, Susan Sarandon

In this decade of remakes and sequels, here’s another one: Alfie, a remake of the 1966 film that made Michael Caine a star. This time, Alfie (Jude Law) is a limo driver from England living in New York City, but as in the original he often talks directly to the camera, telling us his innermost thoughts and feelings about the many lovely ladies he seduces. There’s single mother Julie (Marisa Tomei), his on-again/off-again girlfriend; Dorie (Jane Krakowski), a frustrated housewife he chauffeurs; Nikki (Sienna Miller), a beautiful party girl; Liz (Susan Sarandon), a worldly older woman; and Lonette (Nia Long), his best friend’s (Omar Epps) girlfriend. As we witness his conquests, we learn more about Alfie and just how empty, despite all the female companionship, his life really is.

Not having seen the original Alfie, I can’t compare the two. But I can say that this Alfie takes a while to get going, and even when it does, I still wondered where it was going. It seems that director Charles Shyer (Father of the Bride I and II) and screenwriter Elaine Pope want it both ways – Alfie is a womanizer and a cad, but he’s also likeable and someone we can learn from – which doesn’t really work. Yet somehow Law manages to almost pull it off; his acting is the only really excellent thing in the film. Plus, although this film was hyped to be all about sex, it isn’t very sexy – in fact, there is only one really sexy scene, where Alfie and Liz share absinthe, among other things. Overall, by the end of Alfie, I was still left asking, “What’s it all about?” (Kirsten Greco)

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