Watch it, boy! Randy (Dillon) can't help but get entwined with Jewell (Tyler)...
One Night at McCool’s

dir Harald Zwart
scr Stan Seidel
with Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, John Goodman, Michael Douglas, Reba McEntire, Richard Jenkins, Andrew Silverstein, Andrea Bendewald, Eric Schaeffer, Leo Rossi, Mary Jo Smith
release UK 20.Apr.01; US 27.Apr.01
USA Films 01/US 4 out of 5 stars
This bracing black comedy has such energy and affection for its twisted characters that you can't help but love it. We see the story from three perspectives: It all starts one night at McCool's bar in Middle America, where bartender Randy (Dillon) and his lawyer cousin Carl (Reiser) both meet the gorgeous femme fatale Jewell (Tyler). A crime takes place, and in walks Detective Dehling (Goodman), who swiftly develops his own fantasies about Jewell. And as these three men tell their stories--Randy to a suspiciously coiffed guy (Douglas) in a bingo hall, Carl to his disbelieving shrink (McEntire), Dehling to his priest (Jenkins)--we get three very different takes on both the situation and the object of their affection. But who will end up with her? Or perhaps a better question is: Who will survive their encounter with her?

Directed by Euro-advert maker Zwart with sharp wit and a vicious streak of violent humour, the film is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, mostly because all of the characters are so loveable. We have no trouble at all understanding why each man falls hook, line and sinker for Jewell; Tyler plays her perfectly, showing hitherto untapped vamp resources in creating a character who's a Marilyn Monroe-like airhead-bombshell morphed with Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. And the men are superb as they buzz around her with their own bundles of desires, hang-ups and ultimately confusion about what's really happening. Seidel's script is fiercely funny, twisty and actually insightful (but don't look too hard). Add above average cinematography, costumes and production design and we have a zinger of a film that never lets us down for a moment ... right up to the final shot, which leaves us convulsing in laughter and shock at the same time. Wicked fun.
themes, violence, language cert 15 12.Feb.01

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"Liv Tyler in this film is really beautiful, sexy and wonderful. She is an incredible woman; she is the actress of my dreams. And the song 'Velvet' from a-ha is the best song in the movie. I hope a-ha wins the Oscar!!" --Oliver, Santiago, Chile 27.Apr.01

"In one word: sh*t! And I also think it isn't worth more than a very bad Channel 5 movie (and only if I was very drunk maybe I'd start to enjoy it). Why? 1: Not such an original scenario. 2: Very predictable. 3: Full of cliches. 4: Very bad humour (quite a heavy and very obvious sense of 'American' humour - after the first two joke-tries I got bored). 5: I can't comment on the acting as it was, I hope, part of the overall joke. 6: From this kind of scenario I believe a much better film could have been made. Another word probably more suitable for publication: appalling! What a waste of money, time and effort!" --Bernard, UK 9.May.01

© 2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall