Wolf

1994, R, 125 min. Directed by Mike Nichols. Starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Christopher Plummer.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 24, 1994

A werewolf movie for the Nineties. Nicholson is Will Randall, a New York book editor who strikes a wolf one night while traveling through Vermont. When he leaves his car to check on the animal, it bites him, and, before you can say Maria Ouspenskaya, he's stalking deer in his stocking feet and howling at the moon. When his boss (Plummer, doing a fine job as the heartless, noncommittal boss) gives him the ax and hands the position to Nicholson's smarmy, scheming protege (Spader), the lycanthropic wheels start spinning and the blood starts flowing. Pfeiffer chimes in as Plummer's spoiled, bratty daughter, and immediately falls for Nicholson, who, as if all this weren't enough, has just caught his wife and Spader in the midst of a torrid affair. Rough week. Nichols tries mightily to put a new spin on a very old tale, but try as he might, he never gets much off the ground. Trite shots of Nicholson silhouetted against the moon (howling, of course) make you want to laugh out loud: the obvious poetry they were aiming for just isn't there. Nicholson's wolfen makeup (by Rick Baker, no less, who won an Oscar for his work on John Landis' An American Werewolf in London) is an unconvincing mishmash of Lon Chaney, Henry Hull, and Oliver Reed from assorted wolf films of the past. There's nothing new here, and although the chemistry between Nicholson and Pfeiffer is appealing, there's really nothing there either. A more appropriate tagline for the film might be “Wolf: It Bites.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Mike Nichols Films
Charlie Wilson's War
Despite a script by Aaron Sorkin, direction by Mike Nichols, and star turns by Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this good-natured geopolitical romp falls flat.

Kimberley Jones, Dec. 21, 2007

Closer
Love’s fractured fairy tale, writ small and petty and almost too real to bear without flinching.

Marc Savlov, Dec. 3, 2004

More by Marc Savlov
Duty Free
Around the world in 77 years in this tale of new ambition in old age

May 7, 2021

The Outside Story
After a year trapped inside, a welcome comedic reminder of life in fresh air

April 30, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Wolf, Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Christopher Plummer

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle