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The plot in a nutshell
Jude Law reprises the role of Alfie, originally played by Michael Caine in 1966.  Remakes are awfully popular these days, and like far too many, if you saw the first Alfie, this one will have few surprises.

Alfie is the ultimate ladykiller, getting all the beautiful women he wants.  He uses them for his purposes, and never feels bad about it.  That is until his life takes a few turns and he must re-examine what it's all about.

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
I realized that the last movie review I did was the Incredibles, at the theater.  Since I watched the movie again this week with my kids at home, it dawned on me just how long ago that was.  It's not that I haven't been watching movies - I still watch one or two a week - but that I've just been so buried lately.

But buried for months?  No excuses there, other than my own undeniable laziness.  I saw two movies this weekend, and figured there was no time like the present to get another review up.  The first film I watched was Dead Birds, an unknown little horror film that I might still review - it's not great, but worth a watch.  Ah, but then I watched Alfie, and realized I couldn't pass this one up.

Alfie is a shallow man, but he's the kind that thinks he's not.  Jude Law spends the entire film talking to us, narrating his own life, explaining his ups and downs to us, although it's clear he never understands them - and certainly never learns from them - himself.  He's pompous, distant and emotionally unattached, and so is the entire film.

Sometimes I dislike a film because there's technical issues - the acting is subpar, the script has gaping holes, the editing is choppy and infantile.  But that's not really a problem here, although I could do without either the silly constant narration, or the choppy scene cuts. No, I dislike this movie because the theme is as vapid and shallow as Alfie himself.

Here's a man who's made his bed, and now must lie in it.  It's clear that months and even years pass during this film, and yet Alfie makes no progress emotionally.  He's as shallow at the end as at the beginning, using women to try to fill his own void, just in different ways.  We're never allowed to get close to any of the women, and they are never given more than a handful of lines and a few seconds of screen time to develop, because Alfie never gets close.  Hey, I get it, but if you don't develop any of these characters, I'm not going to care either.  I'm just going to get bored, like Alfie, and start to think about moving on.  Where's that remote.

Alfie does get his what for, although it's not much of a what for.  And just as he hasn't learned from huge mistakes before, or from life threatening situations that would change most people's lives, he simply goes on, telling us that perhaps he might need to re-examine his life...duh.

There are some good people here, especially in the supporting roles.  Omar Depp, so great on House, gets to do very little as Alfie's best friend, although he's role is critical.  And Susan Sarandon, in another critical role, does little more than act as a mirror to Alfie's personality.  It is however, the only mirror he can't really see his own reflection in.

At the end of the day, this is a film trying to be deep and meaningful, that ends up shallow and obvious.  Far too many people think their lives are movies, and the rest of us are just bit players.  That's Alfie's problem, and yet the film never explores what it really means beyond the obvious.

BTW, if you're looking for the definition of gratuitous nudity, look no further than this film.  I have nothing against nudity in a film, since sometimes it's the only redeeming feature a movie has.  But in a film where the main character sleeps with any number of beautiful women, there is only one scene of any nudity, in a completely non-sexual situation.  Bare breasts are suddenly there, with no real point, other than to garner this film an R rating.  I'm guessing they were afraid adults wouldn't be interested in a PG-13 version, so tacking in a little useless visual candy was the way to go.

Rating - Skip it.
This film does one thing.  It confirms that Chris Rock was only half joking during his Oscar speech this year.  Do yourself a favor, and skip this boring remake, especially if you saw the original.  There's nothing here to make it worth your investment in time. 

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
I could spend some time discussing the twists, although if you've seen the original, I couldn't really spoil anything.  And while there are a couple twists, they aren't even worth the time to go into in any depth.  Alfie never really learns anything, which might be realistic, but makes for pretty boring cinema.

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