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:: One Night At McCool's

A night at a seedy bar named McCool’s is the basis for three interweaving storylines. Liv Tyler is Jewel, a woman who changes the lives of three guys, Randy (Matt Dillon), Randy’s brother Carl (Paul Reiser), and Detective Dehling (John Goodman). The film begins interestingly with these guys confessing the events from that night to a priest, shrink or hitman. Each is smitten by the gorgeously alluring presence of Jewel. They’ve all got a slightly different take on her and the threads wind up for an explosive climax.

One night after closing the bar, Randy “rescues” a helpless young woman, Jewel, from possible abuse. She goes back to his place for comfort and a romp in the sack. There is an ulterior motive behind her actions and the strange events lead to a seemingly permanent relationship between Jewel and Randy. She moves in to his house and begins redecorating to match the dream home she has always envisaged. In longing for certain belongings, a series of unorthodox theft incidents occur. One instance, where she wants a DVD player, becomes the crux of a major turn in the film.

Meanwhile, the other stories, concerning the lives of Carl and Detective Dehling, as told through flashbacks, show their respective recollections of events and how they amusingly contradict each other. The detective reveals all to a priest while Carl speaks to a psychologist (Reba McEntire). Randy meets up with a crusty old hitman Mr Burmeister (Michael Douglas). Whatever inadequacies with the film (It doesn’t always stay consistent in the timing and cleverness of the comedy), are saved by Douglas’s performance. Just a look at him brings humour. He is given a hairstyle like Little Richard and he squeezes cynicism and sarcasm into his character cleverly. He seems to be having great fun in his embellished appearance.

The film has minor blemishes, like some redundant dialogue, but it is generally very pleasing. The cast is of a high standard and it would be foolish to look too far into interpreting the occasional lapses and sloppy writing. There are several memorable moments, all really derived from the three men’s differing perceptions of Jewel. Carl’s vision is of her being seductive and dangerous. The detective sees her as an innocent beauty, while Randy’s opinion lies somewhere in between, though slightly more to the naughty side.

Liv Tyler provides the beauty to accompany the dark, juicy moments. Since I last saw her in a film, she has certainly “filled out” to become even more attractive. Her physical endowments and big, pouty lips give her a luscious look. She could be considered too warm to be believed in this role. But she brings a no-nonsense quality that appeals well. The male cast is excellent; each making the most of what they have. People will see similarities with other films of recent years, but “One Night At McCool’s should be taken at face value as a pleasurable, purposeful film with a terrific cast, which satisfies a good night out at the cinema.

Screening on general release