Rene Russo makes a sensational blowzy broad in the “who asked for it?” remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. Her stylish wenchy Enzo Angileri hair, suggesting Anouk Aimée (who with deep regret turned down the femme lead in the original in favor of another go as Lola in Jacques Demy’s Model Shop), seems to be hiding perpetual hangovers more than jet lag or all-night bang sessions. Her clothes don’t have pricey labels peeking through but confirm she’s one up-to-date shabby diva. Her bod in comely shape and worthy of her ego display: when she slinks on the dance floor in a black near see-through, you applaud her audacity—she’s saying to Pierce Brosnan, “It’s okay to fuck me, but you better not fuck me over.” She’s never been in a movie before or since during which audiences can’t keep their eyes off her. Faye Dunaway, on the other hand, is so white stockings in the first Thomas Crown that we’re laughingly glued to her for considerably less lusty reasons: catching sight of her Bambi-eyelashed pocky-faced Vicki, we’re absolutely sure this dame’s orgasms are sparked by Thea Van Runkle’s flashy Barbie couture, not Steve McQueen, looking physically scrumptious with matching blond hair and eyebrows and in his most dapper movie wardrobe. (Until you see his cuffs at or above ankle length.) The first version, directed by Norman Jewison, keeps telling the audience how sophisticated it is—with Pablo Ferro’s multiple rotating images and Hal Asby’s editing, with Haskell Wexler’s swervy camera work, with a jazzy pop score by Michel Legrand. John McTierman is much more moderate with the gloss and pizzazz in the update. He can afford to be relaxed because of Pierce Brosnan’s brand of finesse, and, because Brosnan is also producing, there’s a safeguard to prevent any inadvertent lifting of Bond razzle-dazzle, which the story could easily fall trap to. Brosnan is the current consummate screen gentleman; his moves and grooves are polished, even his petting of Russo while dancing has sophistication—foreplay that’s buffed. A supporting plus as a neat little surprise—Denis Leary. Looking as if he’s gain some weight, he’s low-key and friendly. The Spanish Esther Cañadas may be the remake’s one miscalculation: she’s meant to be exotic and enigmatic but she’s more like a sneering Gale Sondergaard ingénue.

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Text COPYRIGHT © 2001 RALPH BENNER  All Rights Reserved.