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[whitespace] 'One Night at McCool's'
Hair of the Dad: Michael Douglas sports a 'do like his real-life dad's starring as a hitman smitten with Liv Tyler.

Total Bust

'One Night at McCool's' is big on jiggle but lean on everything else

By Richard von Busack

LIV TYLER'S BREASTS--are they big enough to warrant an entire movie? Unfortunately, this question is all that's raised by One Night at McCool's, an unfunny, unthrilling comedy thriller about a bad-girl grifter named Jewel (Tyler) who juggles a number of male patsies. These include unemployed bartender Matt Dillon, cop John Goodman, lawyer Paul Reiser and hitman Michael Douglas. To go down the roster: this is Dillon's kind of comedy; he stole There's Something About Mary from Cameron Diaz, but he's never much of a presence here. The movie lets us know he's poor and lazy and sloppy and it disapproves of him throughly (nothing as obvious as a slob comedy made by people who dislike poor folk--who are, of course, the key audience for such gusty stuff).

Goodman should play more cops, maybe even Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op, but he's miscast as an arch-Catholic, sin-fearing cop; one look at Goodman and you can tell he's not adverse to the sins of the flesh. As for Reiser--we see him topless instead of Tyler, so the movie's a cheat and if Rosie O' Donnell couldn't get a laugh out of being trussed up in leather S & M gear in Exit to Eden, how is Reiser going to do it?

Douglas is amusingly coiffured in a Kirk Douglas pompadour. Still, as the producer of this film--a first offering from his Furthur productions--he's a bit demure to cash into the post-Farrelly Brothers wave of crass comedy. And One Night at McCool's has the same mysogynist qualities as most of Douglas' starring vehicles; it's a slapstick reprise of the girl-hating in Fatal Attraction. As for Tyler, she tries hard--even re-creating (badly) the car wash sequence from Cool Hand Luke--but she can't muster the innocence to make her scamming look believable. Tyler's hard, blank availability doesn't entice you--and she can barely act her way across a room. She flaunts what she has, but this movie can't survive on her jiggle alone.

One Night at McCool's (R; 110 min.) directed by Harald Zwart, written by Stan Seidel, photographed by Karl Wlater Lindenlaub and starring Liv Tyler, John Goodman, Michael Douglas, Matt Dillon and Paul Reiser, opens Friday at selected theaters valleywide.

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From the April 26-May 2, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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