out of 4
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Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4
I'm a devoted Woody Allen fan but even I was hard-pressed to find
anything funny in this lackluster romantic comedy that feebly re-hashes "Annie
Hall" for a younger generation.
Jason Biggs ("American Pie") plays Jerry Falk, a younger version of Woody
Allen. He's a nerdy, neurotic New York comedy writer who is used and abused by
those near and dear to him. First there's Amanda (Christina Ricci), his
self-obsessed, aspiring-actress girl-friend who refuses to have sex with him
for months at a time while conducting torrid clandestine affairs - and who
moves her wannabe chanteuse mother (Stockard Channing) and a piano into their
tiny apartment. Then, there's Harvey (Danny DeVito), his aggressive and
annoying manager. Finally, there's his psychiatrist (William Hill) who refuses
to talk to him. The only light-in-his-life is his friend David Dobel (Woody
Allen), an anti-intellectual public school teacher whom he meets, daily, in
Central Park. While the paranoid Dobel rants and raves about Nazis, guns and
the Holocaust, he also offers Jerry some ironic insight into solving his
domestic and career problems.
Writer/director Woody Allen hauls out several of his "Annie Hall"
devices, like having his characters face the camera and share their angst with
the audience, along with an all-too-familiar snorting-cocaine scene that no
longer evokes laughter. While the setting is supposed to be contemporary,
Allen's allusions are disconcertingly '60s and his casting choices are bizarre
- yet it's all beautifully photographed by Daius Khondji. On the Granger Movie
Gauge of 1 to 10, "Anything Else" is a dull, depressing 4. To his credit, Woody
Allen, now 67, is finally beginning to act his age but - as one character
observes - "funny is money" - and this just isn't funny..
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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