by Mike Nichols
Nicholson stars as middle-aged businessman, Will Randall, who has the
misfortune to run down a wolf while driving home at night, in the snow.
When he gets out of the car for a closer look at the wolf's inert body,
he makes the mistake of reaching out and touching the beast. The wolf
was either just stunned or it was faking it, either way, it bites
Randall's outstretched hand and then makes a quick recovery and
runs back into the woods.
After the incident with the wolf Randall finds he is a changed man.
Okay, horses don't seem to like him anymore, and
become nervous whenever he is around; but—on the positive
side—he doesn't need his glasses anymore, and his sense of hearing,
along with his sense of smell, seem to have become incredibly
sensitive. Of course, he now has some strange hairs growing underneath
the bandage on his hand, and his palm is not an area of his body that
normally requires any grooming, but what the heck, he is lucky enough
to own a pair of scissors, so the problem is easily remedied.
As if Randall didn't have enough on his plate (or should that be in his
bowl?) he finds that his young protege at work, Stewart Swinton (James
Spader), has forced him out of his job. I have only seen a few of
Spader's films and in every one of them he has played someone really
obnoxious. He seems to have a real talent for this kind of role and in Wolf he does a very
good job of ensuring Swinton comes across as someone who is
more than deserving of a left or right hook to the jaw. Randall has his
own, rather unique, way of handling back-stabbers though. More on that
It would seem that Randall has another problem (it never rains but it
paws). He discovers his wife might have a little of the dog in her as
well. She is supposedly out of town on business, and when Randall
listens to the message she has left for him on the answering machine he
happens to be standing next to her closet. He picks up one of her
dresses and, utilizing his new and improved sense of
smell, instantly smells a rat. Pressing the dress to his nose,
he takes a good hard sniff. Then, in true bloodhound-like manner he
tracks his wife to where she really is—her secret lover's apartment.
With both his marriage and his career going down the pan, things are
not looking good for Randall, but this cloud has a silver lining and,
after a chance encounter with his former employer's daughter, Laura
Alden (Michelle Pfeiffer), romance is in the air for the old
Throughout all of the good and bad things that are happening in his
life the one thing that worries Randall most of all are the changes he
is going through, and while he can willingly embrace some of the new
gifts that he has acquired, he is very worried about the price they
I bought this DVD because I thought Jack Nicholson would make a great
werewolf, and do you know what? He does, but the story is a little weak
in places and I found Wolf
a rather mediocre film. It's worth watching, perhaps more as
light entertainment than horror, becuase there are some truly amusing
scenes in the film. The most memorable of which, for me, has to be the
one where the new and improved Randall, blackmails himself back into
his old job and tells his employer that he will tell Stewart about it.
When he runs into him in the toilet he tells him there, then
when Stewart gets a little bit vocal in his indignation, Randall, who
is busy urinating at the time, turns around and urinates all over
Stewart's shoes. Then when Stewart asks him what he thinks he is doing,
Randall tells him that he is marking his territory.
If any two people shine in this film it is Nicholson and Spader. They
are great. Pfeifer is good too, but her character is more of a
decoration than anything else. It's not her fault, she can, after all,
only do her best with the script that she is given.
I found the end of Wolf
particularly disappointing, so much so, in fact, that I checked the DVD
to see if it included an alternative ending, hoping that I might prefer
it if there was one. Sadly there was not.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Runtime: 120 mins
Certificate: 15 (UK), R (USA)