Alfie (2004)



Based on the 1966 film of the same name (and, in turn the 1963 stage play), 2004's Alfie stars Jude Law as a British commitment-shy play boy in Manhattan.

Much like the original film, Alfie finds himself surrounded by beautiful women with a different one to jump into bed with each night. He treats both them and his friends like dirt, but doesn't care when he knows his charm can replace them.

If the original film contained a plot that would make the world blush when looked through a contemporary lens, then 2004's Alfie attempts, in a way, to update that story for its modern audience.

As is typical with remakes of old British films, the location has been moved to appease its American audience but a tacit nod to the Cockney charm of Alfie's original actor (Michael Caine) in the form of Jude Law.

To his credit, Jude Law does emanate charm in the same way that Caine did in 1966, mercilessly moving on from one relationship to the next without worry about consequence. However, with Alfie remaining English in New York, this has the unfortunate effect of making him stand out, and when a protagonist is clearly designed not to be likeable, then by having him contrast from the surrounding cast just alienates him further.

In addition, with the persistent nods to high fashion, Alfie isn't even relatable for most people as "that laddish friend" they once knew, and he comes across as both pompous and arrogant.

The story lifts large parts of the original, but seems to drop many of the subtle links between Alfie's relationships making him appear far more crass. Retained is Alfie's smoking habit, which is out of place in a modern film made all the worse by the inexplicable removal of why smoking was relevant to the original story.

Overall, Alfie is a complete mis-step made even more uncomfortable by the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

2 stars



Comments

  1. Haven’t seen the original. Thought this one was good enough on Law’s appeal.

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    Replies
    1. The original is similar in storyline but without all the strange clichés. You can also be more forgiving to Caine's 1960s rogue than you can with Law's creepy 2000s sex pest.

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