Retro Review: One Night at McCool’s

Written: April 29, 2001

Not since MGM’s “Heartbreakers” has a film really tugged my funny bone to the breaking point.

Matt Dillon stars as a bartender who seems to be secure with where his life is going. He knows he has what he needs to survive and is content. This is all fine and dandy until a certain jewel drops into his life. A young woman (Liv Tyler) is screaming and yelling as her boyfriend’s car pulls up in front of Dillon. Dillon gets mad and opens the door and pulls out the young woman as the bastard boyfriend speeds off.

As the story unfolds we find that the young woman has enchanted 4 different guys in the plot and they all dream of her as the “ultimate woman”. As the film continues each one of these men tells their side of the story as how they met the woman of their dreams, one night at McCool’s. The men consist of Dillon, a kinky lawyer (Paul Reiser), a mourning cop (John Goodman) and the bastard boyfriend (Andrew Dice Clay). Who will have the captivating woman? What is her side and plan in all this? And what’s with Michael Douglas’s new rug?

The moral to this story is “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it”. This moral thread through all these men is what makes this story so humorous. If it isn’t the ridiculous antics throughout or the fall-on-the-floor-laughing ending, you will definitely be pulled into this little film by its finely tuned plot. The mystery in the central woman is slowly revealed as we see each man’s perspective and how very different they see things on the same situation.

My favorite scenes involve a taupe wearing Michael Douglas playing an over the hill hitman who has to listen to Matt Dillon’s story in a Bingo Parlor. That whole storyline and one of the most hilarious endings this critic has seen in a while are what make this film such a gem. It is 90 minutes of pure pandemonium.

The cheeky Paul Reiser character does bring a lot of memorable scenes to life in this film. He does all he can to shake the Paul Buchman character he made famous on the long running comedy series, “Mad About You”. Love this man’s drive for comedy.

There are certain elements in this film that are obviously supposed to appeal to men including a rather racy car wash scene involving Tyler lathering up. But the scene is handled tasteful and does reflect unto what is going through John Goodman’s cop character.To be blunt, it’s awfully saucy.

The good news on it is that it won’t alienate the women in the audience. I had a small problem with some unresolved continuity issues as the finale explodes but you will be laughing so hard to even notice.

I really wish I could discuss the ending more in depth but it’s so delightful to see a film find some much originality so often during 90 minutes of screen time. I mean this comedy doesn’t let up until you are in stitches. A lot of the comedies out there currently have given up before really delivering a hilarious punchline.

Either they give up or they shoot below the belt to gross you out of the theatre. This could be the reason this film was such a breath of fresh air and a success for me.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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