Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography: Wedigo Von Schultzendorff
Editor: Alisa Lepselter
Cast: Woody Allen, Tea Leoni, Treat Williams, George Hamilton, Debra Messing, Mark Rydell, Isaac Mizrahi, Erica Leerhsen, Aaron Stanford, Fred Melamed, Douglas McGrath, Lu Yu, Barney Chang, Marian Saldes, Tiffani Theissen, Greg Mottola, Mark Webber
A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the studio’s boss, bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
This is where Woody Allen lost me after having a period of disappointing films. At this point, I eagerly awaited every new film he had made since 1992. When I saw HUSBANDS & WIVES. Even though some were not as good as others I stayed loyal though I can admit to not seeing the previous two years’ films.
CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION and SMALL TIME CROOKS even to the day that I am writing this review, but I took a chance on this film and saw it in theaters as I figured it would be a return to form in making fun of himself. That comes across as a tone-deaf parody of himself.
Unfortunately, the jokes are stale and the situations Seem like a good setup but don’t ever come around to getting the best use out of them. It makes him seem out of touch to a certain extent and tries to portray youth he doesn’t exactly understand. Which is characterized by the character of his punk rock son who calls himself scumbag.
There are plenty of Hollywood and anti-California Jokes but even the movie he is trying to make within the movie seems pretty bad.
The film feels almost like it was put together or written like a puzzle. Where it is trying to put itself together as it goes along. To kind of have a running theme and story.
It seems to try and spoof Allen himself with the preference of foreign-born cinematographers who speak little English. Which opens up the avenue of having to hire a translator. Who he confides in about his condition. Who pretty much is his confidante, but who he begins to have artistic conflicts with as the translator who is not into showbiz or movies. Becomes almost a co-director and has artistic opinions of his own. This could have been a great side story of giving more time to it, but sadly more wants to focus on past loves and mental trauma as well as blind director Jokes.
The film is one of the few of his films. At least at the time that felt like an assembly line production. He usually puts out a film a year, comes up with a story fast, and tries to build a screenplay around it without feeling it out or doing follow-up drafts. As it feels like he isn’t trying to have any interest in the material. This might have worked more in the ’80s or ’90s but when it came out it felt. I curated it without any nuance. Jaded for no real reason. Almost a Rushed homework assignment.
As always it feels like a prestige film but has little input and feels haphazardly put together. Especially when it comes to casting which seems very random.
The romance in the middle of the film seems sloppy and unearned other than being entirely predictable.
The film lives up to Its title, but overall the film deserved better and more.