Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
When a man tells a woman she's the one he's been searching for, this is not a comment about the woman but about the man. The male mind, drenched in testosterone, sees what it needs to see. "One Night at McCool's," a comedy about three men who fall for the same woman, shows how the wise woman can take advantage of this biological insight.
The movie stars Liv Tyler as Jewel Valentine, a woman who walks into a bar one night and walks out, so to speak, with the hearts of three men. Each one sees a different woman. For Randy the bartender (Matt Dillon), she's the sweet homemaker he has yearned for ever since his mother died and left him a house. For Carl the lawyer (Paul Reiser), she's a sexpot with great boobs and legs that go all the way up to here. When Dehling the detective (John Goodman) sees her a few days later, she's like an angel, backlit in soft focus, as if heaven has reincarnated his beloved dead wife.
Much of the humor of the case comes because when Jewel looks at Randy, Carl and Dehling, she sees three patsies--men who can feed her almost insatiable desire for consumer goods. She may sorta like them. She isn't an evil woman; she's just the victim of her nature. She's like the Parker Posey character in "Best in Show," who considers herself "lucky to have been raised among catalogs." Like movie sex bombs of the past, Tyler plays Jewel not as a scheming gold digger, but as an innocent, almost childlike creature who is delighted by baubles (and by DVD machines, which she has a thing for). At least, I think that's what she does. Like the audience, I have to reconstruct her from a composite picture made out of three sets of unreliable testimony. Perhaps there is a clue in the fact that the first time we see her, she's with a big, loud, obnoxious, leather-wearing, middle-age hood named Utah (Andrew Dice Clay). On the other hand, perhaps Utah is a nicer guy, since we see him only through the eyes of his rivals.
We see everything in the movie through secondhand testimony. Like Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon," the film has no objective reality; we depend on what people tell us. Jewel waltzes into each man's life and gets him to do more or less what she desires, and what she desires is highly specific and has to do with her relationship to the consumer lifestyle (to reveal more would be unfair). Each guy of course filters her behavior through the delusion that she really likes him. And each guy creates a negative, hostile mental portrait of the other two guys.