One Night at McCool's

Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon

Directed by Harald Zwart
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 27, 2001

You can see the effort that went into breaking this comedy out of the formula rut. The script by Stan Seidel, who died of Crohn's disease shortly after shooting wrapped, is a low-rent comic spin on Rashomon, in which the same story is seen from three points of view. One night at a St. Louis bar called McCool's, three guys meet their dream girl. Her name is Jewel — no, she doesn't write poetry — and as Liv Tyler plays her, she is all things to all men. Carl (Paul Reiser), a lawyer, sees her as his sluttiest sex fantasy; Dehling (John Goodman), a cop, sees her as the virtuous replacement for his dead wife; and Randy (Matt Dillon), a bartender, sees her as the simple girl he'd like to move into his house.

It would be fair to say, without giving too much away, that Jewel doesn't fit into any easy categories. You cross this femme fatale at your peril. Tyler, a true beauty, gives the role a valiant try, but her range is too limited to play this amalgam of female perfection. That leaves Reiser, Goodman and Dillon — fine actors all — struggling to fill in the gaps, while director Harald Zwart, a veteran of commercials and music videos, opens an arsenal of stylistic tricks to distract us from the gaping holes in the plot.

No go. The real fun comes in watching Michael Douglas, the film's co-producer, put on a country-star wig and huge fake teeth to play the supporting role of Burmeister, a hit man with a fetish for bingo. Douglas pulls off the trick that the rest of the movie never quite manages: He makes you laugh out loud.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “San Francisco Mabel Joy”

    Mickey Newbury | 1969

    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

    More Song Stories entries »