Alfie (Jude Law) is a Cockney limo driver who regularly beds and discards beautiful women. In addition to maintaining a casual relationship with a single mother named Julie (Marisa Tomei) that he refers to as his "semi-regular-quasi-sort-of-girlfriend thing", he also sleeps with various girls on the side, such as the unhappily married Dorie (Jane Krakowski). At the first inkling Dorie wants something more than casual sex, he decides to block all contact.
Alfie wants to go into business with his coworker and best friend, Marlon (Omar Epps), but Marlon is preoccupied with trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, Lonette (Nia Long). Marlon asks Alfie to put in a good word with Lonette. Alfie meets with her at a bar to persuade her to get back together with Marlon - and ends up having sex with her on a pool table. Alfie meets with Marlon the next day, terrified that he knows about their indiscretion, but is relieved when Marlon says he and Lonette got back together.
Alfie goes to Julie's place for another booty call, but she throws him out after confronting him about his affair with Dorie, which she learned about after finding the other woman's panties in his laundry. Alfie soon gets another unpleasant surprise: Lonette is pregnant with his child. Without telling Marlon, they visit a clinic and arrange for her to have an abortion. Soon afterwards, Marlon and Lonette unexpectedly move upstate without even saying goodbye to Alfie.
Following repeated failures to achieve an erection with various women, he visits a doctor who tells him he is perfectly healthy, and that his impotence is due to stress. However, the doctor also locates a lump in Alfie's testicle that may be cancerous. Alfie immediately has a test run at the clinic and spends a few anxious days awaiting the results. During one of his trips to the hospital, Alfie meets a widower named Joe (Dick Latessa) in the clinic bathroom. Joe imparts some life advice to the depressed Alfie: "Find somebody to love, and live every day like it's your last". Soon afterwards, Alfie finds out he doesn't have cancer.
Believing he's been given a second chance, Alfie decides to "aim higher" in his love life. To that end, he picks up a beautiful but unstable young woman named Nikki (Sienna Miller), and they quickly embark on a passionate, turbulent relationship. They move in together, but Alfie finds it hard to put up with her mood swings, especially after she goes off her medication. He begins to distance himself from Nikki, and sets his sights on an older woman, Liz (Susan Sarandon), a sultry cosmetics mogul. Alfie becomes infatuated with her, but she wants to keep their relationship strictly sexual. Alfie then breaks up with Nikki.
Alfie runs into Julie in a coffee shop, and finds that he still has feelings for her; to his dismay, however, she's now happily involved with someone else. A trip upstate to visit Marlon and his now-wife, Lonette, reveals that she never actually went through with the abortion. Alfie also learns that Marlon knows that Alfie got her pregnant, but nonetheless raises the child as his own. Marlon then cuts all ties with him. Alfie calls Joe, who tells him that he needs to get his life together. Alfie turns to Liz for comfort, but is crushed to discover that she has a new man in her life. Alfie demands to know what her new boyfriend has that he doesn't; Liz replies, "he's younger than you".
Alfie has a chance meeting with Dorie late one night. He tries to get back into her life, but she says that she wants no part of him. The film ends with Alfie talking to the audience about changing his ways.
The film was shot throughout England, mostly locations doubling for New York City, along with on-set shooting in Manhattan.Liverpool, England
Port of Tilbury, England (some dock scenes)
Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York City
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Manhattan, New York City
The music score was composed by Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and John Powell, featuring 13 original songs and a remake of the original 1966 title song. Further songs are by Wyclef Jean and The Isley Brothers.
For the song "Old Habits Die Hard", Jagger and Stewart won the BFCA Award, the Golden Globe, a Sierra Award and the World Soundtrack Award.
Alfie grossed $13,399,812 domestically and $21,750,734 overseas for a worldwide total of $35,150,546 on a $60 million budget. The film opened on November 5, 2004 in the United States and grossed $2,206,738 on the first day. That weekend, the film was #5 in the box office with $6,218,335 behind The Incredibles' opening weekend, Ray's second, The Grudge's third, and Saw's second. When compared to its $60 million budget, Alfie was a box office bomb.
The film received mixed reviews. Based on 150 reviews collected by the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 49% of critics gave Alfie a positive review, with an average rating of 5.6/10. Most critics were impressed with Jude Law's performance, especially in the shadow of Michael Caine's iconic interpretation. The direction and style were also praised.
Todd McCarthy from Variety describes the film as "a breezy, sexy romp with a conscience that reflects in obvious but interesting ways on societal changes over the intervening 38 years."
Roger Ebert enjoyed the film, praising Law's performance and saying that "on its own terms, it's funny at times and finally sad and sweet."
Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-", praising the actresses and Law, but also noting "Jude Law would appear to have all the attributes of a movie star: looks, humor, rogue charm. Yet there's one he could use more of — an anger that might ignite his smooth presence."
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times states:
Unlike the 1966 British film on which it is based, with its abrasive star-making turn from Michael Caine, the new Alfie doesn't chase social significance - it just wants us to have a good time. The story's observations about male behavior aren't earth shattering...but what gives it its kick is how Alfie takes the film audience into his confidence. In both films, the character talks directly into the camera, a disarming strategy that brings us closer to this serial seducer than we might want. Playing narrator turns Alfie into a tour guide and something of his own defense attorney; it also means he has to enrapture the audience along with his conquests.