The pursuit of pleasure is an overriding, if unenlightened, human principle – in this remake of the original 1966 Alfie, the abrasive, brusque edges of Michael Caine’s Alfie are smoothened by the charming Jude Law, producing a flick with as little depth as Alfie’s love affairs, but with visual and feel-good features that will nonetheless satisfy a carnal craving for some.
The idea of male conquests isn’t particularly engaging, the only draw is Law’s confident, suave performance that perhaps director Charles Shyer hopes will distract us from Alfie’s lack of real grit (calling women ‘birds’ these days doesn’t equate to manliness) or social relevance. For more discerning audiences, this Alfie (check out the Special Collector’s Edition) doesn’t quite work.
The original London rouge gets an update into modern New York, becoming the sort of affected jerk types who actually only possess a modicum of control in the game of love – women in New York these days aren’t particularly forgiving of b*stards (didn’t he watch Sex and the City?) and will not hesitate to give them the boot.
Which plays right into Alfie’s game: his long string of affairs, played by actresses Sienna Miller, Law’s off-screen love interest, and Susan Sarandon, testify to his obsession with the hunt. For all that charm, Jude Law remains just a sweetened version of the original. What’s that all about, Alfie?