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Alfie’ not as charming on closer inspection

Emily Iarocci | Monday, November 8, 2004

With a cast including such Hollywood greats as Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Omar Epps, Nia Long and Susan Sarandon, how could a movie possibly be anything but outstanding? The greatly anticipated remake of “Alfie” has finally arrived and despite its amazing cast, it fails to meet its lofty expectations. The acting is wonderful and executed by exceptionally talented professionals. However, the plot falls short of its assumed role. The marketing division may be at fault for this, or successful depending on how you look at it. It is not the romantic, light-hearted comedy it appears to be in the previews. Most of the actual comedy within the film was found only in the beginning. The rest of the movie is the depiction of a man whose casual lifestyle is falling to pieces before him, having quite the opposite effect of what the viewer was hoping for – two hours of laughter. Our first introduction to Alfie is indeed hilarious, but after the first 20 minutes or so, his life begins to fall apart and from there, there is really no turning back. Alfie (Jude Law) is a philanderer, or as modern jargon would describe him, a player. He moves from woman to woman, night after night, and lives his life in such a way as to not get emotionally attached to any of them. His emotional attachment phobia is even obvious within his friendships because he really only has one friend, Marlon (Omar Epps). The only other real relationship he has is a semi-steady relationship with Julie (Marisa Tomei), who in Alfie’s eyes is pretty much a friend with benefits. Unfortunately for Julie, Alfie does not love her, and she does love him. She seems to suspect that he cheats on her, but initially ignores the fact, because of her great affection for him. Eventually, Alfie successfully drives both Julie, and Marlon away by failing to take their feelings into account, when his sexual appetite is involved.One by one throughout the movie all his relationships (some old and some new) and other parts of his personal life begin to crumble and most fall apart completely. As his life falls to pieces, Alfie has absolutely no one to turn to, no one to comfort him, or advise him. The ending does not resolve anything, we are left hanging, but not in the kind of way that is indicative of the fact that there will be a sequel. The ending is not satisfying, leaving viewers with a feeling of confusion and maybe even dejection.Although the movie did not meet expectations, especially given its normally stellar cast, a second viewing may provide a different response. This movie isn’t the light-hearted fare with the predictable happy ending. Viewers will probably enjoy it more if they don’t approach it expecting solely the comic interludes between a philanderer and his involvement with numerous women, but rather a much more serious movie. Above all things, this is not a romantic comedy, as the trailers and previews would suggest it to be. Overall, “Alfie” was decent, but certainly not a movie to write home about. It’s worth seeing, but definitely not one of the better movies I’ve seen recently.