One Night at McCool's (2001)

R   |    |  Comedy, Crime

One Night at McCool's (2001) Poster

Every man has a different recollection of the beautiful young woman who wreaked havoc on their lives during one heated night.

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  • Liv Tyler in One Night at McCool's (2001)
  • Matt Dillon in One Night at McCool's (2001)
  • Paul Reiser in One Night at McCool's (2001)
  • Liv Tyler at an event for One Night at McCool's (2001)
  • Liv Tyler and John Goodman in One Night at McCool's (2001)
  • Liv Tyler at an event for One Night at McCool's (2001)

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2 May 2007 | eschetic
| Roshomon meets American Pie...if only the writing held up to the end
Few could seriously argue that ONE NIGHT AT McCOOL'S is great film making - it doesn't even really live up to the title which is merely the opening for each of the three stories (interrelated perspectives) we follow drawn from the events which began one night at a watering hole named McCool's. Great film making or not, the film knows how to push most of the right buttons and quote the right classic models for a good "naughty" time, and most viewers will have such a good time before the story's energy runs out in the last 20 minutes, that they won't really care.

Matt Dillon turns in a fine performance (and not just his from eyebrows and abs - though they get their usual workout) as the put-upon bartender who gets drawn into the increasingly outrageous chain of events by the beauteous (and predictably amoral) Liv Tyler as bodies - dead and otherwise - start to pile up. The main story thread is told for most of the film in flashback as Dillon, at a low point in his life, recruits aid from an oddly cast Michael Douglas. Paul Reiser is his cousin, in the midst of a severe midlife crisis and explaining his story to his new therapist, Reba McEntire (turning in another delightful set of reactions) and John Goodman is the policeman - and one true innocent in the story - also drawn into the web of events by lost love and seeking council from his all too interested parish priest, Richard Jenkins.

Inocence and midlife frustration are not rewarded in a film like this (stick around for the punchline joke life plays on Reiser at the end - it's a drop-dead killer!), but for the Saturday night crowd who wants a happy ending, Dillon gets one Moliere would have been proud of, and in this case, even the modern version of a "Tartuffe" may get to ride happily off into the sunset.

A solid supporting cast TV viewers will smile at (Andrea Bendewald, a chilly blonde source of laughs in so many shows, is particularly good in the small role of Reiser's wife) keeps things rolling and occasionally adds just by the baggage they bring. Completing the mix is a surprisingly satisfying double role tossed to Andrew Dice Clay (nearly unrecognizable in each) as the "friend" who starts and finishes the whole chain of events.

The McGuffin here is "house hunger," and those who love ONE NIGHT AT McCOOL'S should seek out Harold Prince's twisted black comedy fairy tale, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE where Michael York has the same weakness. It might make a great double feature.

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