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One Night at McCool's (2001)

  Directed by: Harald Zwart
Written by: Stan Seidel
Starring: Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas, John Goodman, Richard Jenkins, Reba McEntire, Paul Reiser, Liv Tyler
Links: One Night at McCool's on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 6.50 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 121st of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Liv-in' it up" - a review by mino

You know, before I saw One Night at McCool's, I never once thought that Liv Tyler was particularly good-looking. For all the hype she gets as a stunningly gorgeous sex-bomb, I never thought of her as much chop at all. You know what? I was wrong. All it takes is to put some red hair on her, and yowza — she really is a stunner. Red hair really suits her. Especially when she's doing the hottest ‘bikini car-wash’ scene this side of Bring It On (2000)

What? I'm supposed to be talking about the movie? Oh well, if I must.

One Night at McCool's is a fairly enjoyable — well, I don't know what to call it, because it doesn't really fit very neatly into any particular categories. It's a kind of ‘sexy thriller/comedy’, if that makes sense: the movie it most strongly reminded me of was Wild Things (1998) (also starring Matt Dillon, funnily enough), so think Wild Things, but a bit funnier, a little less ‘twisty’. In fact, McCool's reminded me of several movies, for a variety of reasons: Wild Things, Very Bad Things (1998), and even Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) for some reason — I think it was the laid-back vaguely ‘Southern’ feel of the whole thing.

Anyway, the plot itself (I'll get there eventually): Tyler is Jewel, a bombshell sex-kitten who can't walk into someone's life without changing it (assuming they're a straight male, that is). When bartender Randy (Dillon) saves her bacon (not Kevin Bacon, though he was in Wild Things too) from an attempted rape, she insinuates herself into his life — at first innocently, then in a more and more twisted and sinister fashion. Needless to say, things rapidly start going pear-shaped for Randy, his brother Carl (the surprisingly good Paul Reiser), and everyone else involved. I can't say too much more without giving it away, but suffice it to say it's quite dark, quite sexy, and quite funny.

The story is a clever one, partially due to the way it's told. Most of the movie is flashback-style, from multiple angles — Dillon recounting his story to a suspicious-looking crim (Michael Douglas), Carl telling his psychiatrist, and grizzled cop John Goodman confessing to his priest. While this could have proven very annoying (particularly some of the Dillon-Douglas banter, which interrupts the flow of the story too many times for no real reason), it actually works quite well. There are subtle differences in each person's recounting of the same scene, which could prove gimmicky, but isn't: the differences are subtle enough that you won't even notice most of them if you're not paying attention, and many of them are very funny in themselves.

The movie loses much of its cleverness as it progresses beyond the half-way point, alas: it gets less ‘black’ and instead just devolves into slapstick, though it's quite well-done and not always unwelcome. I mean, the shootout scene it the end is quite ridiculous, but when you have a totally-over-the-top shootout (oh, add The Big Hit (1998) to that ‘movies this reminds me of’ list…) set to the Village People's YMCA, how the hell can you complain?

If you can get over Liv Tyler's astoundingly annoying accent, you may well find an enjoyable little movie. It won't be for all tastes (as with all the movies I've mentioned), but if you like them, I think you'll find McCool's to be entertaining enough.

mino gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 13 Feb 2004

"Attention to detail is what makes it" - a review by pearly

It all started one night at McCool's. Jewel (Liv Tyler) has a long-running scam where she pretends to fight with her boyfriend in order to get "rescued" by a strong male type (in this case, Randy (Matt Dillon)), after which she goes back to his place and robs him. Randy is taken with Jewel, as is Carl (Paul Reiser), Randy's cousin, and Detective Dehling (John Goodman), who questions the others after Jewel's boyfriend is killed. From this point on, Jewel has all the guys eating out of the palm of her hand - but is she really the damsel in distress that she makes out to be?

McCool's boasts a fairly interesting ensemble cast; no huge stars, but a fair number of well-known names. Michael Douglas (who plays Mr Burmeister) is probably the biggest name of the bunch, and although his acting is not very memorable, I'll never forget his hairstyle in this film. Classic. Liv Tyler is probably the next biggest name, although I'm not quite sure I understand what it is that has elevated her to the heights she's at. Matt Dillon is adequate in his role, but there's nothing particularly spectacular for him to work with, as is the case with John Goodman and Paul Reiser (I think I'll have nightmares about seeing him dressed in bondage gear though).

In terms of acting, Richard Jenkins (also from Six Feet Under - top show) has some funny moments as Father Jimmy, further cementing my opinion that bit parts and incidental occurances can make or break a film. I also wasn't aware that Reba McEntire did any acting, but there you go, it would appear she does, and she's quite good at barely containing her contempt for Paul Reiser's character.

So, now that I've yabbed on about the actors for so long, back to the film. McCool's follows the regular technique of trying to have so many twists and turns that you don't know whether you're coming or going. But let's face it. This is a fun film. It's not meant to be ground-breaking. Whatever you do, don't go into it expecting Oscar material - but if you watch it expecting a bit of a frolic, you should enjoy the ride.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 29 May 2002

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 6.50
Lowest rating: 6 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 7 (by mino)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. It's a pretty good movie. I love John Goodman, and overall most of the cast is nice...kinda funny, kinda creepy.
    Then there's that freakin' sexy car-wash scene. If you don't know what I'm talkin' about (and you should!), the clip's at The Yahoo Movie Page for "One Night at McCool's".
    Worth watching.

    Then, there's the fact that I really, really like Liv Tyler...sexysexysexy

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Will on Wed 29 Jun 2005 15:05 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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