To fit with modern sensibilities, Alfie is not a brute, simply a careless womaniser who has yet to see the error of his ways. Law’s ‘sympathetic portrayal’ is more pathetic than sympathetic. The first half hour of the film is similar to the original, with Alfie ‘telling it how it is’ to the audience in direct-to-camera speeches. Law cannot carry off the breezy charm he is attempting; rather than giving Alfie a different type of charisma, they try to copy the dated element of the original and fall short. Having seen him smirk to camera as he screws over another devoted woman, he’s not exactly a character to root for. A cancer scare and an unwanted pregnancy are cynically thrown in to try and portray Alfie as misguided but almost forty years had passed between the original and this remake. What was once daring is now stale and depressing.
The attempts at meaningfulness- various billboards with one word such as ‘PERSUE’ or ‘DREAM’ are hilariously heavy-handed. Miller can’t act, hence why her relationship with Alfie is mainly covered through various arty photos in which Miller and Law give model poses. Jude Law is much more easy on the eyes than Michael Caine but his character is so obviously a user that the female characters, which have been carefully manufactured as feisty women, are pretty dense in not realising that Alfie is bad news. On the surface the female characters are better in that they are not the subordinate creatures of the original, but the original women faced greater consequences of their relationships with Alfie and therefore had a harder battle being able to leave. For these modern girls, they get over it the next day.
Director Charles Shyer has botched the remake but the main issue here is that the idea doesn’t translate into a modern romantic comedy/drama. There’s eye candy but watching a love rat hurting perfectly decent women and implying that we should feel sorry for him because he hasn’t got two brain cells to rub together (he has a calander that teaches him a new word each day) makes the film awkward to watch on the superficial level at which it's presented.