Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Still Loving Them, Leaving Them; but Charming 'Alfie' Loses Momentum

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Still Loving Them, Leaving Them; but Charming 'Alfie' Loses Momentum

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel, The Times-Union

Jude Law is tremendously charming and incredibly likable as Alfie's incorrigible womanizer, which may be part of the problem when comparing the remake to the classic 1966 movie.

In the earlier film, Michael Caine was tremendously charming but only sort-of likable -- and he was far more brutal, misogynistic and selfish than Law's cuddlier, defanged Alfie, who starts learning his lessons far too early in the story.

But perhaps it's a bit unfair to spend too much time comparing the new Alfie to the old; almost 40 years have passed, and Alfie's antics can't possibly seem nearly as edgy or revolutionary.

As it stands, though, this new version is not without some rewards of its own.

Start with Law, whose Alfie practically melts the camera -- along with the female characters he meets along the way.

He's a Brit transplanted to New York, where he finds a cornucopia of women awaiting him, ready to be loved and then left. He's a limo driver with a run-down bachelor pad decorated with a Chet Baker Let's Get Lost poster. He doesn't have much money, but he has nice suits, a Vespa scooter and lethal amounts of sleepy charm.

"Explain to me what everybody sees in that Eurotrash," says one skeptical clubgoer.

But just one smile and she's a goner.

As Caine did, Law turns to the camera repeatedly and tells us what he's feeling. Once again, it works.

Here he is, trying to extricate himself after yet another romantic conquest: "Obligatory cuddle. One-1,000-one, one-1,000-two . . ."

And then he gets off a good line as he talks about his "semi-regular, quasi-permanent, sort-of girlfriend" named Julie (Marisa Tomei). "The problem is, Julie doesn't have enough of the superficial things that really matter."

We'll point out that this lineup of birds (in Alfie's words) is far more stunning than the more routine-looking -- deliberately so -- group that Caine's Alfie romanced. …

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