With six movies out this fall, Jude Law runs the risk of extreme overexposure. But give the 31-year-old British heartthrob credit: He never does anything twice.
He was the heroic action star in the September release "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" and is an ambitious yuppie executive in the current comedy "I (heart) Huckabees." But it's his latest role, as the charming cad in the comedy-drama "Alfie," which opens Friday, that's tailor-made for the two-time Oscar nominee.
Based on the Bill Naughton play of the early 1960s and the 1966 film that made Michael Caine a star, "Alfie" finds Law playing the irrepressible Alfie Elkins, an English limo driver who arrives in New York with dreams of making his fortune -- and making love to as many beautiful women as possible.
He meets many of these women on the job, where his boyish charm and attentiveness sweeps the "birds" -- as he describes them -- off their feet.
Among his conquests are Oscar winners Marisa Tomei, as a working-class single mother, and Susan Sarandon, as a sophisticated career woman, as well as Sienna Miller -- Law's real-life significant other -- as an attractive neurotic.
Directed by Charles Shyer ("The Affair of the Necklace," "The Parent Trap"), Law's Alfie is quite different from Caine's interpretation. Though both men confess their innermost thoughts to the camera as they try not to get emotionally involved with the "birds," Law comes across as a lonely boy pretending to be a cad. He basically wants to be loved but seems incapable of commitment. Caine was more cynical and unsympathetic.
When Caine's "Alfie" was released 38 years ago, it was just at the beginning of changes in movie censorship and was considered shocking because of its sexual frankness and a harrowing abortion sequence -- in fact, several actors, such as Laurence Harvey and Anthony Newley, turned it down because of the scene.
The classic Burt Bacharach-Hal David title tune that Cher sang in the original movie pops up again in the remake, performed this time by Joss Stone. And none other than Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart are responsible for several new tunes.
So what's up next for the prolific Law? The Mike Nichols-directed relationship drama "Closer," playing Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" and a turn as narrator in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," which stars Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep.
-- Susan King