US Release Date: 04-27-2001
Directed by: Harald Zwart
- Liv Tyler, as
- Matt Dillon, as
- John Goodman, as
- Detective Dehling
- Paul Reiser, as
- Michael Douglas, as
- Mr. Burmeister
- Reba McEntire, as
- Dr. Green
- Andrew Dice Clay, as
- Richard Jenkins, as
- Father Jimmy
- Mary Jo Smith, as
- Bingo Caller
- June Lockhart as
- Bingo Player
Matt Dillon and Liv Tyler in One Night at McCools.
One Night at McCool's is a dark quirky comedy that starts strong with a funny, macabre story that gradually unravels as it nears its predictable climax. Still, the first 3/4's of the movie contain some genuinely funny moments and even the last quarter is never boring, despite the fact that the very last scene of the film has been shown countless times, in every preview and ad shown in the theater and on TV.
The movie tells the story of a beautiful young woman, played by the hotter than hot Liv Tyler, looking absolutely gorgeous, and the three men whom she wraps around her fingers. It's sort of a cross between Wild Things, There's Something About Mary, with a dash of the quirky comedy of Drowning Mona thrown in for good measure.
There is Matt Dillon, the bartender she seduces so she can rob him, but ends up moving in with him instead. Paul Reiser, Matt's cousin, the lawyer, who lusts after her and wants to be dominated by her. And finally, John Goodman, the police officer investigating the murder of Liv's old boyfriend, played, in an amusing cameo, by Andrew Dice Clay.
What makes the first 3/4's of the movie so good, is that it is all told in flashback by the three male leads. Each confessing their affair with Liv to different people. Reiser tells his story to his psychiatrist, Reba McIntire. Goodman tells his priest in a semi-confession. And Dillon tells his story to Michael Douglas's character for reasons which don't become apparent until later. Each of them have a different view of what Liv is and how the others behaved and the way the three stories are blended together makes for the funniest moments in the movie.
Unfortunately, when the events catch up to the real time of the movie and we are presented with events as they happen, the movie loses its originality and events play themselves out pretty much the way you expect them to.
The most interesting character in the movie is Liv's character, Jewel. As the murderous beauty, in search of home, who will use anyone, especially any man, to find a home, she is captivating, but her character isn't delved into deeply enough, and she is left playing simple eye candy. And what eye candy she is!!! Just watching her walk in a tight dress was worth the price of admission. If this movie was made in the fifties, her role would have been played by Marilyn Monroe, but Marilyn never played a character with such edge.
Despite the ending, this is still a good movie and a quite funny dark comedy.
John Goodman and Paul Reiser in One Night at McCool's.
This is an enjoyable little offbeat movie that demonstrates, in an amusing fashion, just how easily straight men are manipulated by a woman they either want to -or are- having sex with. Liv Tyler does her best femme fatale routine while leading these three dummies around by their nether regions. Scott called Jewel a Marilyn Monroe type and she does play dumb to get what she wants. Tyler pouts, struts, smiles and bats her eyes while getting every man she meets to jump through hoops trying to please her.
Like my brother I enjoyed the structure of the film. We see the same events from various points of view. Whichever person is narrating the scene slants the story for their own benefit. At just 90 minutes this mix of neo noir and screwball comedy flies by. The ending is a bit outlandish but it suits the cockeyed reality of the movie.
One thing that struck me about this movie as I was watching it was how old fashioned it seems, even for 2001. Randy still owns a VCR and there's a car with a cassette player in it. They act like DVD players are brand new and super expensive. And everyone calls them just a DVD. As in, “I can't believe they stole the television but left the DVD behind.”
This was Harold Zwart's feature film debut as a director. He manages to keep all the balls in the air without leaving a truly indelible mark. Zwart has subsequently become a reliable working director in Hollywood. His credits include Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2, the remake of The Karate Kid, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Andrew Dice Clay plays twins. The first twin gets killed during that fateful night at the titular bar. At the climax his brother shows up seeking vengeance. In a meta-reference, this brother Elmo was based on the character Michael Douglas played in Falling Down. He has a flat top crew cut, wears glasses and a too tight black suit.
The cast also includes a cameo by June Lockhart as a woman playing Bingo. She began her long film career acting with her parents way back in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol and, remarkably enough, she is still working today at the age of 89. The star of television's Lassie and Lost in Space has an impressive credits list at IMDB, featuring well over 150 movie and television roles. She has a movie called The Remake set for release later this year (2014).
One Night at McCool's features a tight cast working from a quirky script. The result is a swiftly paced dark comedy. It's better than its reputation would have you believe and definitely worth checking out.
Photos © Copyright USA Films (2001)