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One Night At Mccools

Three men's lives are adversely affected by the events that unfold after their encounter with a grifter femme fatale named Jewel--and it all starts one night at a bar called McCool's.


Randy (Matt Dillon) is a bartender at a neighborhood dive called McCool's. One night, he rescues Jewel (Liv Tyler) from her abusive boyfriend Utah (Andrew 'Dice' Silverstein), unaware that the sultry redhead and her paramour are in cahoots with a plan to rob the joint. Mayhem ensues when Jewel feasts her eyes on Randy and rubs out Utah instead. Randy falls madly in lust with her, as does Detective Dehling (John Goodman), called to investigate the murder, and Carl (Paul Reiser), a drunken lawyer and Randy's cousin. The story is told from the diverging perspectives of the three men as they pour their hearts out to different confidants in their lives: a hit man, a priest and a psychiatrist. Each of the Romeos sees Jewel in a different light. While Carl thinks she's a tramp with powers of seduction, Detective Dehling envisions her as a lost soul in need of guidance. Their stories eventually converge to a mutual ending.


The film's cast gives it bragging rights. Liv Tyler really pulls off the role of Jewel, a seductive sex kitten who wants nothing more than a nice home with a gold fountain in the dining room. And while Jewel is a manipulative double-dealer without a shred of decency, she still elicits compassion with her tacky rag-tag dreams. Matt Dillon is in his element as the doe-eyed bartender with an endearing affection for snow globes. Soft spoken and dimwitted, he gives his character multiple dimensions. Another multi-faceted character is the pockmarked, bingo-playing hit man with an empathetic streak played by Michael Douglas. Delivering an equally poignant performance as Detective Dehling is John Goodman, a cop still grieving over the death of his wife. But a disappointing Reiser brings nothing to a role of Carl, a horny lawyer with a leather fetish who is cheesy beyond belief.


Though shooting a multi-perspective film is not a new idea in Hollywood, first-time director Herald Zwart does it with humor and originality and without pretension. The three characters' points of views vary visually from one another in terms of lighting, lenses and costumes. If Jewel, for example, is wearing a red dress in Randy's version of events, the same red dress is a few inches shorter when told from Carl's perspective, who sees her as a sort of vixen, to pink and almost matronly when told through Dehling. The camera focus also softens when Jewel is seen through Dehling's eyes, though the effect might have been more effective had it been done more subtly. The film starts off strong but lags a bit halfway through, only to regain its momentum toward the end. But it is well done over all and does not pretend to be something that it is not.

Bottom line

One Night at McCool's is not cutting-edge comedy and the story line is a bit predictable, but the cast will keep you entertained.