"It all happened ..."
One Night at McCool's
Review by Ross Anthony

Wow, what a first act! The initial third of this yarn weaves a three-perspective story tighter than Swedish braids. A cop (Goodman), a lawyer (Reiser) and an empty-pocketed bartender (Dillon) relate stories of elation and devastation to their priest, shrink, and hitman respectively. They are three lenses focusing on one subject - a girl, "like a dream, a miracle" (Liv Tyler - yes, daughter of Aerosmith's Steven). The light they shed burns like the sun through magnifying glasses and sets smoldering a hot, spicy, funny story full of unexpected twists.

The filmmakers go out of their way to take each progression in a direction contrary to prediction. After a striking and flawless first act, perhaps not surprisingly, the second act lulls a bit. Less screen time on the Dillon sequence and/or introduction of yet another player might have perked. Perhaps the complexity of editing finally consumed the editors.

One Night at McCool's

But kudos must be made to the magical direction - a keen eye to details (the clap-light, for example), transitions, and well-placed character springboards. You'll also enjoy the skewed interpretations of common events, for instance, whenever Goodman recalls scenes with Dillon, Dillon's on screen persona drops more than just a notch into the lewd and unlikable.

Paul Reiser is incredible; he's an acrobat of verbal thespianism. Rapping with his shrink (Reba) "I've got this thing going on with this woman ... not my mother!" Andrew "Dice" Silverstein is smashing, his huge voice explodes on screen. A modern day Jackie Gleason, "What do you mean you don't got a car? Even bums don't not got a car!" And then there's Liv Tyler - a schemer as innocent as Judy Garland with a smoking gun.

And if you saw "Falling Down," you'll enjoy the humorous (Douglas-ribbing) homage paid. Good music, good fun, good entertainment, good climax.

[Interview with Harald Zwart and Liv Tyler]

  • One Night at McCool's. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, John Goodman, Paul Reiser, and Michael Douglas, Andrew Silverstein.
  • Directed by Harald Zwart.
  • Screenplay by Stan Seidel.
  • Produced by Michael Douglas, Allison Lyon Segan at October/Furthur/USA release.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:01:34 PDT