|INTERACTIVE (Rate the Review)|
|Cinema Signal: Numerous flaws & weaknesses which may be forgiven or ignored but only by a limited audience.|
Sing Like an American Idol, Women's Edition
Everything You Need to Sing the Hits!
(Discounted Paperback (with CD) from Amazon)
Judging by this latest Woody Allen film, the writer/director/comedian is getting less and less funny, unless you take his endless harangues about the world and the people in it, which he puts into the mouth of his alter ego- central character, a cause for laughter. Is he just kidding? Needling us with pessimism? Piling on the neuroticism while spooning out a good amount of eroticism? Why does his movie make me think I'm a fly on the wall observing his last therapy session about being an old man with a very young wife?
It starts with Melodie as a homeless waif who insists herself on Boris for a bite to eat in his apartment one night after a very long diatribe he delivered directly into the camera, soaked with scorn and irony ala Woody Allen. Poor girl, she doesn't know the kind of misanthrope she's about to get into bed with.
Believe it or not, that's where the script is going, though there will be a few steps in-between. The girl, a gorgeous, slender ditz from a rural town in the South, thinks the self-styled genius -- a man who nearly won a Nobel Prize and won't let you forget it -- is her man. With so few options or influences available to her, this little vixen decides that a chance to absorb her benefactor's blinding brilliance is a turn-on. Before you know it, and at her insistence, they get married.
The situational comedy ensues from this set-up, when the girl's past starts catching up to her and Boris, and modern New York modalities get the better of peoples' entrenched assumptions. Farcical, and for the right audience, not without some fun.
But, it's the girl that makes it happen and Allen's true genius in casting is evident in his choice of Wood as an innocent who can make a relationship between a teenager and a misogynist at least conditionally plausible.
I can't say too much about Wood's spectacular ability to pull off a part that had to please the auteur and which is a perfect model of what a really fine actor can accomodate. It's called stretching without showing the stretch marks. Wood is so good at it that she surmounts the unease I felt (and which others may, as well) in the story concept.
Allen may be trying to exonerate and/or justify himself to those who might be condemning him for his life style, or it may just be natural for a writer to mine his own life for subject matter. Either way, the choice he's made here seems inadvisable. When does "meeting a problem head on?" trump keeping a private matter private? In any case, I've now seen as much of that as I want to and, as a sometimes reluctant fan, I'm hoping for another "Match Point," luv.
Kudos to Evan Rachel Wood and may no one ever underrate what she's capable of.
~~ Jules Brenner