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 super 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: slinky 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 (excepting Nightcrawler) 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 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, who’s looking scrumptious with matching blondish hair and eyebrows and in his most dapper movie wardrobe. (Until you see his period-precise but now distracting 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 Ashby’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 Brosnan’s brand of finesse and, because the star is also producing, there’s a safeguard to prevent any inadvertent lifting of Bond razzle-dazzle. Brosnan is the consummate screen gentleman; his moves and grooves are polished, even his petting of Russo while dancing has sophistication—foreplay buffed. A supporting plus is also 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 (Revised 11/2022) All Rights Reserved.