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Alfie (2004)

2004 was the year Hollywood attempted to turn Jude Law, actor, into Jude Law, Superstar, and — as Chris Rock denoted at the 2005 Oscars — he didn't take. With six movies in release between September and December of 2004 and winning People magazine's "Sexiest Man of the Year" title, the world OD'd on the British hunk — the films where he played a leading role didn't fair well fiscally, while the films that did work — Lemony Snickett (where he provided narration) and The Aviator (in a two-scene cameo) — featured little of him. The most Law of them all was Alfie, a remake of the 1966 Michael Caine picture of the same name. It was also the biggest bomb (generating a paltry $13 million at the box office), and thus the Jude Law Revolution will have to wait. But such shouldn't be surprising — Alfie is a terrible movie. Law plays the titular character, a man about town with the ladies who can't seem to commit. When a fling (Jane Krakowski) talks about leaving her husband, Alfie dumps her, while with single mother Julia (Marisa Tomei) he feels close but can't commit. He's got a good friend in Marlon (Omar Epps), but when Marlon and his girlfriend Lonette (Nia Long) break up, Alfie and Lonette have a one-night stand that ends in a pregnancy and the conclusion of their friendship. After a brief spell of impotency he meets Liz (Susan Sarandon) and Nikki (Sienna Miller). Liz is an older woman who out-Alfies Alfie, while Nikki seems like the perfect girl until she reveals she's on meds and is emotionally unstable. Alfie is The Jude Law Show and, make no mistake, he's more than capable of carrying a film. But the script isn't there to back him up. Directed by Father of the Bride's remaker Charles Shyer (and written by Shyer and Elaine Pope, based on the original play and screenplay by Bill Naughton), they never seem to crack their main character. Where in the original, seeing Michael Caine as a scoring lad is interesting because he isn't classically handsome, Jude Law is so attractive there's no real seduction to his conquests nor a sense of urgency to his pursuits or successes. He's just a guy who's used his good looks to hook up with hot women, and without any depth to the character, it's hardly more insightful than pornography. Paramount presents Alfie in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. A loaded Special Edition, the disc offers two audio commentaries, the first with Charles Shyer and editor Padriac McKinley, the second with Shyer and co-writer Elaine Pope. There's also five featurettes (running 56 minutes in total) "Gedde Wantanabe Dance Footage" (2 min.) with optional Shyer and Pope commentary, eight deleted scenes (11 min.) with optional Shyer and McKinley commentary, script, storyboard and production galleries, and the theatrical trailer, along with bonus trailers. Keep-case.
—DSH



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