Alfie (2004 film)

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Alfie
Alfieposter2004.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Shyer
Produced by
Written by
  • Elaine Pope
  • Charles Shyer
Based on Alfie
by Bill Naughton
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Ashley Rowe
Edited by Padraic McKinley
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • November 5, 2004 (2004-11-05)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[2]
Box office $35.2 million[2]

Alfie is a 2004 British-American romantic comedy-drama film inspired by the 1966 British film of the same name and its 1975 sequel, starring Jude Law as the title character, the son of the character played by Michael Caine and Alan Price. The film was written, directed, and produced by Charles Shyer.

Plot[edit]

Alfie Elkins (Jude Law) is a Cockney limo driver and sex addict, who regularly beds beautiful women on one-night stands. In addition to these, he maintains a casual relationship with a single mother named Julie (Marisa Tomei) that he refers to as his "semi-regular-quasi-sort-of-girlfriend thing", and the unhappily married Dorie (Jane Krakowski). At the first inkling that Dorie wants something more than casual sex, he decides to stop contacting her.

Alfie wants to go into business with his coworker and best friend, Marlon (Omar Epps), but Marlon is preoccupied with trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, Lonette (Nia Long). Marlon asks Alfie to put in a good word with Lonette. Alfie meets with her at a bar to persuade her to get back together with Marlon - after both becoming intoxicated, they end up having sex on a pool table. Alfie meets with Marlon the next day, terrified that he knows about their indiscretion, but is relieved when Marlon says he and Lonette got back together and surprised when Marlon informs him that he asked Lonette to marry him.

Alfie goes to Julie's place for another booty call, but she throws him out after confronting him about his affair with Dorie, which she learned about after finding her panties in her rubbish bin, which Alfie had discarded there earlier after discovering them in his pocket. Later attempting to reconcile by attending her son's birthday, bringing a teddy bear as a gift, Alfie discovers that his actions have led to Julie reconciling with her estranged husband. Alfie later discovers Lonette is pregnant with his child, and (without telling Marlon) they visit a clinic and arrange for her to have an abortion. Soon afterward, Marlon and Lonette unexpectedly move upstate, without even saying goodbye to Alfie.

Following repeated failures to achieve an erection with various women, he visits a doctor who tells him he is perfectly healthy, and that his impotence is due to stress. However, the doctor also locates a lump on Alfie's penis that may be cancerous. Alfie immediately has a test run at the clinic and spends a few anxious days awaiting the results. During one of his trips to the hospital, Alfie meets a widower named Joe (Dick Latessa) in the clinic bathroom. Joe imparts some life advice to the depressed Alfie: "Find somebody to love, and live every day like it's your last". Soon afterward, Alfie finds out he doesn't have cancer.

Believing he's been given a second chance, Alfie decides to "aim higher" in his love life. To that end, he picks up a beautiful but unstable young woman named Nikki (Sienna Miller), and they quickly embark on a passionate, turbulent relationship. They move in together, but Alfie finds it hard to put up with her mood swings, especially after she goes off her medication. He begins to distance himself from Nikki and sets his sights on an older woman, Liz (Susan Sarandon), a sultry cosmetics mogul, who had inspired him to "aim higher" in the first place. Alfie becomes infatuated with her, but she wants to keep their relationship strictly sexual. Alfie then ends his relationship with Nikki.

Alfie runs into Julie in a coffee shop, and realizes that he has genuine feelings for her; to his dismay, however, she's now happy with another person. A trip upstate to visit Marlon and his now-wife, Lonette, who reveals that she never actually went through with the abortion. Alfie also learns that Marlon knows that Alfie is the child's father, but nonetheless decided to stay. Upon seeing Marlon with hurt in his eyes, Alfie leaves and calls Joe, who tells him that he needs to get his life together. Alfie turns to Liz for comfort but is crushed to discover that she has a new man in her life. Alfie demands to know what her new boyfriend has that he doesn't; Liz replies, "he's younger than you".

Alfie has a chance meeting with Dorie late one night. He tries to get back into her life, but she says that she wants no part of him. He apologises to her for not calling her and admits that he has trouble expressing his feelings, running from relationships when they become too serious. Dorie wishes Alfie "good luck" with his life. The film ends with Alfie talking to the audience about genuinely changing his ways.

Cast[edit]

A black and white photograph of Michael Caine representing Alfie Elkins Sr. appears during the film's credits.

Production[edit]

The film was shot throughout England, mostly locations doubling for New York City, along with on-set shooting in Manhattan.

Music[edit]

The music score was composed by Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart [3] and John Powell, featuring 13 original songs and a remake of the original 1966 title song. Further songs are by Wyclef Jean and The Isley Brothers.

For the song "Old Habits Die Hard", Jagger and Stewart won the BFCA Award, the Golden Globe, a Sierra Award and the World Soundtrack Award.

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Alfie grossed $13,399,812 domestically and $21,750,734 overseas for a worldwide total of $35,150,546 on a $60 million budget. The film opened on November 5, 2004 in the United States and grossed $2,206,738 on the first day.[4] That weekend, the film was #5 in the box office with $6,218,335 behind The Incredibles' opening weekend, Ray's second, The Grudge's third, and Saw's second.[5] When compared to its $60 million budget, Alfie was a box office bomb.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. Based on 150 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 49% of critics gave Alfie a positive review, with an average rating of 5.6/10.[7] Most critics were impressed with Jude Law's performance, especially in the shadow of Michael Caine's iconic interpretation. The direction and style were also praised.

Todd McCarthy from Variety describes the film as "a breezy, sexy romp with a conscience that reflects in obvious but interesting ways on societal changes over the intervening 38 years."[8]

Roger Ebert enjoyed the film, praising Law's performance and saying that "on its own terms, it's funny at times and finally sad and sweet."[9]

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-", praising the actresses and Law, but also noting "Jude Law would appear to have all the attributes of a movie star: looks, humor, rogue charm. Yet there's one he could use more of — an anger that might ignite his smooth presence."[10]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times states:

Unlike the 1966 British film on which it is based, with its abrasive star-making turn from Michael Caine, the new Alfie doesn't chase social significance - it just wants us to have a good time. The story's observations about male behavior aren't earth shattering...but what gives it its kick is how Alfie takes the film audience into his confidence. In both films, the character talks directly into the camera, a disarming strategy that brings us closer to this serial seducer than we might want. Playing narrator turns Alfie into a tour guide and something of his own defense attorney; it also means he has to enrapture the audience along with his conquests.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ALFIE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 11, 2004. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=alfie.htm
  3. ^ Rolling Stone
  4. ^ Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ Box Office Mojo
  6. ^ Box Office Mojo
  7. ^ "Alfie (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on August 4, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  8. ^ McCarthy, Todd (October 21, 2004). "Alfie review". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 5, 2004). "Alfie review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Movie Review: Alfie". Entertainment Weekly. November 3, 2004. 
  11. ^ Dargis, Manohla (November 5, 2004). "Film Review; A Modern-Day Charmer Who Lives for the Chase". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 

External links[edit]