ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  harald zwart

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  comedy?

LENGTH  -  93 minutes

RELEASED  -  27 april 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  usa films

OFFICIAL SITE  -  one night at mccool's

one night at mccool's - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from one night at mccool's at

buy the dvd from one night at mccool's at

three men have a different recollection of the beautiful young woman who wreaked havoc on their lives during one heated night.

liv tyler wore shoulder pads in her bra.


picture from one night at mccool's

picture from one night at mccool's

picture from one night at mccool's


zero out of four possible stars

An experience at the movies should be at least one of the following: entertaining, informative, educational, or in the very least, good fun. One Night at McCool's is none of these. In fact, it borders more on the asinine, uninteresting, and brainless. With so much talent placed into one film, it seems impossible that the end product should turn out without so much as an ounce of intelligence. Neither the cast nor the story has the ability to hold the interest of any person beyond the very advanced age of five. It is impossible to discern whose fault the failings of this film belong to, but perhaps it would be best to start with the writer.

As it is widely known that writers' scripts are usually taken from the author's creative control and placed into the hands of a gargantuan film company. But this film was not big budget and it did not seem to have the usual suits sitting on the sidelines changing the writer's beloved work. In fact, the independent stature and small budget of this film might should have been a breeding ground for creative freedom for the writer and director. But it was all for not, because the creative freedom in this film seems to have led to disaster for the cast and crew. Perhaps it is fortunate that this film has not had the large production budget nor the wide-reaching advertising of a usual studio film, because the end result is so disappointing.

The core idea for this film might have had some potential, but the story and its characters are without humor. In some spots in the story, the actors seek to play their characters in an over-the-top manner by making their acting unrealistic and overbearing. And this strategy might have worked had the entire film been played in this same manner. But everyone is inconsistent in his or her performances. Sometimes their characters are almost believable and sincere, but they never stay that way and always fall back into that fake and over-the-top territory of acting. So there ends up being a mish-mash of different styles for the characters, which make any emotions, presented by the characters insincere.

It also gives the story itself less weight because people who populate the story are unbelievable. This film also has a way of vilifying all the women characters presented in the story. Really, there are only two women in this film: the main character of "Jewel," played by Liv Tyler, and "Dr. Naomi Green," played by Reba McEntire. These two women (though McEntire's role is much smaller) cause all the downfalls of the three men characters in the film. The accidents and arrests that happen to these "poor" men are never their own faults, but always the fault of the women.

Each of the men are without intelligence and common sense and are rendered helpless in the talons of the women harpies. Though the way liv tyler's character is presented is even more misogynistic because although her feelings are usually consistent, she's sometimes presented as a very stupid woman whose idiocy is completely unintended but is still the cause for all the problems of the men around her. So she is either vicious or mean-spirited in every scene. The only thing she is concerned with during the film is in obtaining a house of her own filled with the gaudiest ornaments known to man.

This desire is not a problem in itself, but the way her character goes about fulfilling this wish is quite insipid and uninteresting. That is perhaps one of the largest failings of this film. With all the effort put into the trailer park set dressings and the porn star clothing the stars wear, there is nothing more interesting in the film than these gaudy decorations. Perhaps it is because the people in the film are so unfunny. This film is supposed to be a comedy and it is anything but. If one were to place it in a specific category, it would best reside in the tragedy column. Make that tragedy with little intelligence.

In addition to Liv Tyler's stupidity it's not as though any of the men around her possess any amount of brainpower. Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, and John Goodman all play characters whose smarts would be dwarfed by a first grader with a low IQ. All they concern themselves with is how to accomplish getting Liv Tyler's character into bed. Now, this is not an unusual motivation for a set of male characters, but so many factors combine to make sure there is no sexual chemistry between anyone in the film. Stupidity does not equal sexy. It's not even laughable that the men in this film are so dumb. Sometimes, dumb equals fun, but here everyone's just plain dumb. And to think, this film was marketed as a comedy.

Perhaps the only upside to this film is the appearance of Michael Douglas as a bouffant-wearing hit man who deals with Matt Dillon's character. Douglas plays a character very much unlike his usual good-looking leading man type roles, and sports more than a few wrinkles in this film. Although his character isn't particularly challenging, he's at least an interesting addition to the film. Unfortunately, that's really the only positive aspect of One Night at McCool's. A series of mistakes in story, casting, and script make sure that this film is really worth missing.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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