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Alfie

What's It All About?

There is nothing more endearing than a self-centered, hedonistic man whore. Or at least, that's what director Charles Shyer was hoping in remaking the 1966 Michael Caine film, Alfie.

Jude Law (Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow) is the kind of leading man who could likely take a Nazi commandant and make him appealing. While Law is handsome and charismatic on screen as Alfie, he is ultimately a pretty irredeemable character and Law's innate charisma is not enough to make him a character you can truly root for.

Charles Shyer makes a bold decision in having Alfie address the audience directly throughout the film in much the same way that Michael Caine did in the original. Fortunately, Law has the kind of presence that makes this approach feasible. Alfie's philosophical musings on womanizing is at the very least amusing.

It is Law's gifts as an actor that carries Alfie. This is truly a testament to Law's acting chops. Few other actors could take such a self-absorbed character and make him even vaguely attractive to the audience.

However, Alfie's vague appeal did little to dispel my desire to see him get his just desserts. Alfie's continuous bad behavior gets him into hot water throughout the film and yet somehow he manages to walk away relatively unscathed. Shyer implicitly condones the lothario-esque behavior of his protagonist in granting his character these liberties.

Jude Law redeems a film that would have otherwise been painful to sit through. There is no substantive narrative to speak of. Alfie is primarily a series of relatively directionless, philandering escapades. Alfie is not a character of substance or depth…despite his philosophical musings. By the end, it's still not clear 'what's it all about'.

Stars: 2.5 out of 5