One Night at McCool's [2001]

Genre: Comedy, Crime
A giddy attempt to combine a standard film noir plot and a contemporary sex farce about men who (to quote John Hiatt's song) let their little heads do the thinking, One Night at McCool's is a promising comedy that never hits full speed, coasting along amiably enough before spiraling into violence that clashes with its trashy sensibility. It's not as polished as Grosse Pointe Blank, but it's fun enough to recommend, especially for those who drool at the sight of Liv Tyler. The movie begins by suggesting that Liv is sexy, then proceeds to prove it, and then continually insists upon it until you're left with no choice but to wholeheartedly agree. It's an easy choice, but pity the movie's wretched guys for making it. As bombshell Jewell Valentine, Tyler lures three guys into her criminal scheme of happy homemaking. Bartender Matt Dillon's the first to take the bait; as Dillon's lawyer cousin, Paul Reiser can't resist; and when murder complicates everything, detective John Goodman employs his own love-struck brand of chivalry. Sporting a tacky pompadour, Michael Douglas steals the show as a hit man hired to whack the scheming sexpot--and Andrew Dice Clay is surprisingly funny in a dangerous dual role--but of course Liv can hold her own. It's all quite amusing, but rarely is McCool's as funny as you hope it will be; the dialogue by Stan Seidel (who sadly died before filming completed) is zesty enough but lacks the Coenesque punch that would kick it over the top. It hardly matters, though; with a femme fatale like Liv in control, the movie's faults will be easily forgiven. --Jeff Shannon

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