By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:57 AM EDT
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One Night at McCool's

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  • Movie
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For anyone who somehow fails to notice how va-va-va-voom! Liv Tyler is in One Night at McCool‘s, the movie provides us with that always useful visual aid, the soaping-up-the-car-in-a-clingy-dress scene. Tyler makes dutiful love to the bubbles, the chassis, the spurting garden hose. The sequence, set to a cover of Gary Wright’s ”Love Is Alive,” unfolds like a particularly yummy piece of Madison Avenue consumer porn. But the entire sudsy peep show turns out to be the set-up for a ba-dum-bum punchline, as Tyler’s bartender sap of a boyfriend, played by Matt Dillon at his most gawky-stupido, turns to his cousin (Paul Reiser) and says, ”You should see what she does with my hose!” Talk about a joke that leaves the audience limp.

How, exactly, should one pinpoint the awfulness of One Night at McCool‘s? More than just dumb, the picture is embarrassingly dorky. It’s like a bad-sitcom version of a Tarantino film noir, as directed by Ed Wood from a script by Alex Portnoy. There’s a weirdly dated quality to the movie’s overstatement, whether it’s the mother-fixation jokes, the ”naughty” bondage jokes, a dual appearance by the former Andrew Dice Clay (still bellowing, but now billed as Andrew Silverstein — as if that would make us forget), a bedroom tryst accompanied by the imaginative disco lyrics ”sexy body,” or Tyler’s breathy, naive, neo-Marilyn shtick as a vamp named Jewel who’s obsessed with home furnishings and who seduces one geek after another, even though she could almost be wearing a sign that reads ”Not What She Seems.”

Why would someone make a movie centered around a bar named McCool‘s, anyway? They might as well have called it the Totally Happenin’ Bro Saloon. Michael Douglas, who shows up as a horndog in an ugly graying Elvis pompadour, produced this mess, which makes you wonder whether he owed somebody a favor. No one emerges from One Night at McCool‘s unscathed, but I only hope that Liv Tyler doesn’t allow herself to be converted from promising ingenue to walking pinup. There are far better tactics for becoming a star than sudsing your way to glory.

Episode Recaps

One Night at McCool's

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 93 minutes
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