One Night at McCool's (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film comes from the general line of misogynist sexual politics films, following in the same general footsteps as Tomcats, Whipped and Body Shots in the genre of "oh, jeez, women are evil, but you need 'em to get laid". 
Like Body Shots, it pulls the old Roshomon stunt of telling the same incidents several times from differing points of view. Unlike Body Shots, it allows the audience to see much more clearly that the recollections tell us much more about the speaker than they do about the people and events being portrayed. 


Almost none. The top of Liv Tyler's butt crack is seen briefly. None. Liv offers plenty of sexy cheesecake action, and she looks great, but no real nudity.
One night at McCool's, a drinking establishment of no special merit, a bubbly dame came into the lives of three men, and each of them became infatuated with the dame in question. 

The central story involves Matt Dillon as a loser bartender who lives alone in his mother's old ramshackle house. He is the first to fall under the woman's spell. This chronic loser manages somehow to take the spectacular dish back to his dump. Although his prized earthly possessions consist of nothing but a collection of those snow scene globes, and he has nothing in the house to offer her except tap water, she somehow wants to make love with him until the cows come home. It turns out that she's not the brightest girl. She is running a scam with her boyfriend in which she gets into someone's house, allowing the boyfriend to rip it off. Unfortunately, it hasn't dawned on her that she needs to take home a man who actually has some possessions to steal. The evil boyfriend ends up forcing the bartender back to McCool's, in order to hold a gun on him and force him to open the safe there. While they are at the bar, the dame pulls out her own roscoe and plugs the big evil galoot. 

The other two men who become infatuated with the babe, each seeing her in his own way, are the detective investigating the boyfriend's death, and the bartender's sleazeball lawyer. 

I think this material might have worked better with a more experienced and subtler actress. Liv Tyler played the basic character as a bimbo hungry for consumer goods, not really a mean and conniving person, but simply a woman who wants a better life and doesn't really know how to get it except by stealing. She's not trying to assemble a Rockefeller fortune. Her ultimate consumer goods fantasy is to get a DVD player. The glitch in her performance is that it is not clear whether the changes in her personality from recollection to recollection are due to the delusions of the speaker, or whether they represented some genuine scheming on her part. For example, with the lawyer, she turned into a leather-suited dominatrix. If that really happened, then doesn't it indicate that she would deliberately assume whatever personality that she needed in order to manipulate her "mark"? But the rest of the script seems to indicate that she was really kind of a sweet, confused, innocent, guileless bimbo whose personality changes didn't really happen, but were created by the perspective of the speaker. So did that leather incident happen, or didn't it?

Oh, well. That's probably too much depth of criticism for something that was only meant to be cotton candy fluff. It succeeds in part, because the three guys (Dillion, Paul Reiser, John Goodman) are funny, and because it's fun to see how each of them portrays the other two when it's his turn to tell the story. Dillon, in particular, is quite good at portraying the sweet, sanitized version of himself in his own recollections as well as the drunken, dumbed-down version seen when the two jealous guys speak of him.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • many deleted scenes

  • many featurettes about making the film, including the best storyboard-to-screen feature I have seen.

Tyler is absolutely beautiful when she has her weight under control, and she played the entire character with a Marilyn Monroe voice which I found pretty sexy. Let's hope she doesn't work with Adam Sandler soon, however, as it is written that man may die from hearing an excess of silly voices in a short time.

Although it is black humor, the movie is a much more kind-spirited film than Whipped or Tomcats. The Liv Tyler character is sort of sympathetic, and not an evil, scheming witch. Because of that, the film is a pleasant, if uninspiring watch. It's one of those movies that is not good enough to praise or bad enough to pan. Your basic two and a half star film. 

So when, precisely,  did Michael Douglas become his dad?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: No consensus. It received every score from the minimum zero to 3.5/4. The average was two and a half stars. Ebert 2.5/4, and Apollo 67/100 peg it at two and a half. I agree.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2 
  • With their dollars ... it was rolled out to 1800 screens, so they hoped for a minor winner. They were wrong. Word of mouth killed it. It maxed out at $6 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C. With a great cast, it seems that it should have been better, but it didn't quite click.

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