Alfie [Retro Review]

“Whenever you meet a beautiful woman, just remember somewhere there’s a man who’s sick of shagging her.”

The Scoop: 2004 R, directed by Charles Shyer and starring Jude Law, Jane Krakowski, and Sienna Miller

Tagline: What’s it all about?

Summary Capsule: Lecherously chauvinistic twit struggles with question of whether or not to remain an immoral weasly little dink, and can’t seem to decide on an answer.

Sue’s Rating: What it’s all about should be applied to your head with a baseball bat, Alfie.

Sue’s Review: Confession: As elderly as I am, I did not see (and have not yet seen) the original release of Alfie. It’s true, 1966 was before even my time. Absolutely the only connection between the original movie and myself that I will admit to is that I might possibly… possibly… own a CD of Burt Bacharach’s Greatest Hits with the theme song on it. If I did have such a thing, I’m sure I’d keep it between Bagpipe Christmas Classics and Evanescense, two slots down from Staind and three up from Ani DiFranco’s “Living In Clip” which would be across from Anne Murray or possibly Michael W. Smith. Make of that what you will. Let me know what you come up with.

Anyway, the movie. Obscenely beautiful Jude Law plays the schmoozily charming Alfie — a limousine driving British ex-pat who feels that his mission in life is to make the lovely women of New York City happy… by allowing them to make him happy. That rates at about .0000004 on Sue’s Logic Meter, but it seems to work for him. In fact, Alfie is so generous that he even rations a measured portion of charisma onto other deliberate targets — like the elderly woman who giggles happily and offers to clean his apartment for him just because he called her a sex-kitten or whatever. I nearly lost my popcorn in dramatic fashion right there and then.

The deal killer comes whenever any of Alfie’s ladies start making noises about commitment. (It doesn’t have to be a big noise, mind you. A wistful sigh is sufficient.) Then it’s bye-bye luv, bye-bye happiness. When mid-movie rolls around, there’s been a rather impressive swath of destruction left behind him. Then the worm begins to turn (what does that actually mean anyway?) and dear Alfie finds himself rejected and cast aside; a role that genuinely, genuinely mind you, hurts and bewilders him. This leads Sue to consider the man a super-deluxe dumba-ah, donkey. And poor Alfie feels compelled to start retracing his path in an apparent effort to validate, or re-ignite his appeal and maybe even to attempt a do-over somewhere back where the problem started. Kind of like you can do with the newer versions of Windows. What he discovers is that machismo purgatory hath no apathy like a woman unceremoniously dumped. Cry me a freakin’ river, Alfred.

The astute reader might have noticed that I haven’t exhibited much, (which is to say, any) sympathy for our poor hero’s plight. This would be correct. When it comes to this sort of behavior, I am just about as tolerant and good-natured as a fighting bull faced with a colorful array of rodeo clowns all singing “Mandy”.

Now, I did think about this a bit. Never let it be said that I can’t see both sides of an issue before I point my finger and snicker cruelly at the idiot on the opposing side. Alfie never married, never made promises, had no specific or implied warranties or guarantees. So why is my reaction to him one of utter loathing? Possibly because his choices were so totally inappropriate. A married woman? His best friend’s long time love interest? How about a single mom with a young’un just old enough to form attachments? Oooooh, I think my capillaries went from slow simmer to rolling boil just thinking about this. I’ll have to put it out with some Ben & Jerrys. The fact of the matter is that Alfie is a just a cute jerk. The world is full of them, but that doesn’t mean they’re cinematically viable unless the writer provides a foil to their masculine ignoramousnishness. (Cool, I just invented a word!) A Colin Firth to Bridget Jones’s Hugh Grant, if you will.

So what is this all about? Not very much. Is it worth seeing? Heck, I don’t know. My movie watching co-pilot and I spent most of the time trading dubious glances at some of the most chauvinistic — or at least moronic — monologue we’d ever listened to. My enjoyment, such as it was, derived mostly from slavering over Jude Law’s best features and listening to his lovely little purring accent (sorry, I’m just a sucker for accents) and counting his ironic eyebrow twitches. I guess it might be a guy flick if you’re a total misogynist or just have a thing for any of the leading ladies. It might be a chick flick if you find Jude dreamier than a very dreamy thing. Otherwise, eh. Whatever.

Is it his minty fresh breath?

Intermission!

  • Jude Law wearing clothes looks like a bean-pole. Jude Law without clothes is yummily muscular. How? HOW?
  • Random background signage as plot progression cues.
  • Counting the women he comes on to would make a nifty little drinking game.
  • Alfie is a remake of the 1966 movie of the same name, which starred Michael Cain.
  • In the shot where Jude Law punched a car’s windshield, Law actually cracked it after being told to imagine that it was paparazzi he was hitting. Apparently earlier efforts at punching it weren’t intense enough for the director’s satisfaction. In the end, the windshield had to be removed the rest of the way with a sledgehammer.
  • Alfie’s highest mark for a woman is an A-.

Groovy Quotes:

Julie: Where were you last night?
Alfie: I thought we agreed we weren’t asking each other those questions.

Alfie: I myself subscribe more to the European philosophy of life, my priorities leaning towards wine, women and… well, that’s about it.

Alfie: Whenever you meet a beautiful woman, just remember somewhere there’s a man who’s sick of shagging her.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Down With Love
  • Alife (1966)
  • Remedial sensitivity training classes.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s