Anything Else (2)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


Anything Else aptly describes what one should do if one of the alternatives is buying a ticket to Writer-Director Woody Allenís latest effort. One thing Woody said that was right on was that no movie should be longer than 90 minutes.  Even though this one is advertised as coming in at 96 minutes, it seems like eternity. But, to be fair to Woody, after only 30 minutes, this was too long.  Just so you know where Iím coming from, Iíve only seen three Allen films I liked, Annie Hall, Deconstructing Harry, and Bullets Over Broadway. Why heís got the reputation heís got is beyond me.  Why all the actors apparently stand in line to act for him for little more than scale is beyond me.  Heís got a longer string of unentertaining, marginally profitable films than any director extant.

  This could as easily have been entitled The Nebbish and The Shrew. Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs) is a struggling writer who lives with aspiring actress Amanda (Christina Ricci).  In a flashback we see that he falls in love with her because they have similar tastes.  But from that point on thereís never anything that indicates a loving relationship.  Heís smitten, but we can never understand why because sheís such an unappealing character.  Sheís not particularly beautiful.  In fact, as far as Iím concerned, she was the least attractive female in the movie.  So whatís keeping Jerry tied in with her when sheís such a manipulative, uncooperative, unresponsive jerk, except to maintain a tenuous story line?

David Dobel (Allen) is kind of a mentor to Jerry.  But Allenís neurotic way of acting, where he never says his lines straight, always appearing to be groping for words, is so annoying, the truths Dobel is telling Jerry are pretty much lost.  Worse, Allenís script is so hackneyed I could say lines before they were spoken and anticipated action before it occurred.

 This movie goes on and on and on.  Thereís never a moment of silence.  When there isnít dialogue, Jerryís talking to us, like Allen used to before he grew too old.  To make matters worse, Biggs isnít up to the weak script.  Cary Grant or Ryan OíNeal might have been able to handle this role of a bungling unrequited lover.  Maybe Woody Allen could have handled it 30 years ago.  Biggs clearly canít.  Weak script plus weak actor equals disaster.

 Nobody would put up with what Amanda puts him through.  The movie completely lacks credibility.  I canít imagine anyone who actually is a Woody Allen fan liking this movie.  If you donít like Allen, thereís not a chance youíll like it. 

 September 20, 2003

The End