A.I: Artificial Intelligence

Michael Douglas, Matt Dillon, Liv Tyler, John Goodman, Paul Reiser. Directed by Harald Zart.
Running Time: 93 mins
Rated: MA 15+

Do not be fooled by this all-star cast. This black comedy is very dark indeed, exceptionally violent and light on laughs.

At McCool's bar a murder takes place and Randy (Dillon) the barman takes up with Jewel (Tyler), the murdered guy's girlfriend. Randy's cousin Karl (Reiser) sees Jewel and falls in love with her too, as does Detective Dehling (Goodman) who is sent to investigate the murder. Jewell is deeply out of touch with reality, suffering from nymphomania, kleptomania and other assorted neuroses. All she wants is a 'home beautiful' and will stop at nothing to get it.

The structure of the film hinges around the three men laying bear their souls to their confessors: a priest; a psychiatrist and Mr Bergmeister (Douglas), a hit man who Randy is driven to hire to do Jewel in. It is a clever device and the cross cutting between the three stories is well done.

One night at McCool's is a parody on the melodrama. While it does not take itself at all seriously it trivialises and glorifies the gratuitous violence and abusive sexuality that passes for humour in the story.

It is equally offensive to High Church Anglicans (or are they supposed to be Latin Mass Catholics?), women, homosexuals, lawyers and police officers. What a pity that such a talented ensemble of actors should work in a film that does even deserve to last one night.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the Director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

Richard Leonard SJ

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