Projections - Movie Reviews

One Night at McCool's

One Night at McCool's

A DVD and a sexy girl add up to disaster for three beguiled, gullible men: Randy (Matt Dillon), Carl (Paul Riser) and Detective Dehling (John Goodman).

In what is Harald Zwart's feature film directing debut he turns Liv Tyler into the first star in years with a full figure like Jane Russell.  As Jewel, Tyler mesmerizes her three co-stars.  They see her with a glowing halo and muted soft skin and what ever the consequences are they are powerless to resist her.  Her initial appearance is angelic and her performance in bed shuts the lights off and on.  When she washes her car detective Dehling is totally lost in her charms.  She has limited goals for her life, a house that is nicely decorated, according to her taste and an entertainment center with a DVD player.

We find Randy headed for a bingo parlor in the rain as the film begins.  Inside he meets with Mr. Brumeister (Michael Douglas) one of the players who he begins to tell the story of Jewel.   He met her in an alley behind McCool's bar one night.  We quickly learn that Jewel will do anything to reach her goals including murder.  Rapidly Jewel's story unfolds from the somewhat conflicting views of each of the three men.  Detective Dehling views her through religious eyes and causes his friend, a priest, to sweat with passion as he reveals the details of Jewel's sexuality.  Dillon's Randy lives with her but objects to her taking over his house and throwing out his dead mother's stuff.  Reiser's Carl, Randy's cousin, lusts for Jewel and he excites his psychiatrist (Reba McEntire) as he tells his side of the story.

It's a dark story which leaves the sexuality to our imagination (there is no nudity) just a sensual performance by Tyler.  Like much of film noir, we find ourselves enjoying and laughing at scenes which should be somber and serious.  So when Douglas' Mr. Brumeister the hit man, puts it all together we can't help but appreciate his cunning, we even appreciate Jewel's twisted view of life.

One Night at McCool's is funny and ironic through out.  It is particularly so as director Harald Zwart uses his experience with commercials, in a scene which he uses the Village People's recording of "YMCA" as background, in a climatic shoot out that leaves us rolling in the aisles and applauding at the end.

One Night at McCool's

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