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ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOLS

SYNOPSIS:
One fateful night at McCool's bar brings Jewel Valentine (Liv Tyler) into the lives of three men who fall in love with her. Randy (Matt Dillon), a barman at McCools, his cousin Carl (Paul Reiser) and Detective Dehling (John Goodman) all see Jewel as their perfect woman. As each recalls events through their own eyes, Jewel's manipulation of her three suitors is revealed, leading to a showdown that brings hitman Burmeister (Michael Douglas) into play.

Although less than the sum of its parts, Liv Tyler and her three stooges make this night at McCool's a reasonably entertaining one. They got the casting right. If anyone could induce men to part with rational thought it's devil in a red dress - Liv Tyler who beats out a tempestuous tattoo on the sweaty libidos of hapless barman Randy (Matt Dillon), lawyer Carl (Paul Reiser) and cop Dehling (John Goodman). The set-up is amusing as we find Jewel cast as the ideal woman through the glazed eyes of each man caught in the trap. For Randy she's wife and mother material, Carl sees her as a sex bomb with all the right equipment and plenty of imagination while Dehling imagines her as the re-incarnation of his deceased wife. How the cunning Jewel works these patsys for cash and consumer durables is fun for about two thirds of the film but once the Rashomon-style series of flashbacks is over there isn't really anywhere for it to go except downhill. By the time pompadour coiffed hitman Michael Douglas joins in (looking incredibly like his father, circa 1960) we don't really care what happens because everyone's so thinly sketched (and re-sketched through the eyes of other characters) we're left with cut-outs in whom it's hard to invest any emotion. It's much ado about not very much in the end but an attractive cast in lively form and 2 good acts out of 3 make it worth a look.
Richard Kuipers

Packed with thespian talent and bereft of wit, this is one of the most disappointing films I’ve spied in a long time. Not the worst film, but the biggest let down. Unashamedly derivative of There’s Something About Mary, the basic premise nevertheless has a darker edge that promises serious entertainment but delivers a serious dose of tedium. Michael Douglas has a hot record as a producer, but he trips up badly here. His acting turn is terrific however, and one of the film’s few pluses. Looking so world-weary one suspects a cartographer applied his make-up, Douglas plays the cynical hit man with such an easy cynicism he almost finds the wry humour the screenplay is vainly searching for. Comedies certainly don’t have to rely on clever, chirpy characters; neurotic, selfish, calculating and down-right dimwitted types have oft served the genre well. But there needs to be some empathy. Here Matt Dillon’s character is nothing more than a dull moron. A colourful moron can delight, but there’s nothing worse than a boring idiot. Tyler’s character has more potential but is so confusingly delineated that we lose interest before we have a chance to laugh at the havoc her ruthlessness reaps. The sad site of Paul Reiser swanning down public streets in bondage gear in the final sequence’s last gasp for a laugh just about sums up the depths to which a promising premise plunges.
Brad Green

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOLS (MA)
(US)

CAST: Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, John Goodman, Michael Douglas

DIRECTOR: Harald Zwart

PRODUCER: Michael Douglas, Allison Lyon Segan

SCRIPT: Stan Seidel

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Karl Walter Lindenlaub

EDITOR: Bruce Cannon

MUSIC: Marc Shaiman, Pål Waaktaar (song ‘Velvet’)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE: May 24, 2002

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Home Entertainment







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