Picks and Pans Review: Alfie

updated 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

COMEDY DRAMA

Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Omar Epps, Nia Long

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Some movies don't need to be remade. Alfie is a persuasive case in point. The 1966 prefeminist version, which made Michael Caine a star, was about a cockney chauffeur on the make in swinging London who used women the way other men use shaving cream. Viewed today, it still crackles with nasty energy.

The same will never be said of this pallid remake, which casts Law in the title role, relocates him to contemporary New York City (though he's still an Englishman) and declaws him. Now Alfie's just a guy suffering from commitment problems—he feels the pain of those he hurts. Director-cowriter Charles Shyer (The Affair of the Necklace) allows Alfie to meander. Halfway through, you no longer much care what it's all about. Don't get me wrong. This Alfie isn't an awful film, it's just not an especially good one. On the plus side: Law is certainly easy on the eyes, and the many actresses snuggling up to him, particularly Sarandon, Long and Tomei, are adept. (R)

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