Though you can't make a good case for its essentiality, at least this swinging-'60s rehash ensures that Jude Law won't be remembered for anchoring the three most disappointing films of the fall. Taking over for Michael Caine in the role of a skirt-chasing cad, Law has to overcome a lot of cutesy techniques that haven't aged all that well like addressing the camera directly but he still manages to invest sheepish soul in the role of limo driver Alfie Elkins, who loves 'em and leaves 'em according to an expedient code of conduct he reveals in a running inner monologue. Taking vicarious pleasure in Alfie's casual misogyny is only slightly more passé than submitting it as a subject of ridicule, leaving director Charles Shyer little wiggle room to make anything compelling of the cheeky character study. That the movie succeeds about half of the time is tribute to its mature recognition of sexual cause and effect and to the reality that even enlightened ticket-buying boys appreciate quality time with Jane Krakowski, Marisa Tomei and a tattooed Susan Sarandon. Oh, sod it: Rowf! (R)
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