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Anything Else

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Anything Else

Starring: Woody Allen, Jason Biggs
Director: Woody Allen
Rated: R
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Christina Ricci, Jimmy Fallon, Stockard Channing, Danny DeVito, Kenneth Edelson, Carson Grant, Diana Krall, Nicolas Pernisco, Kadee Strickland, Eric Tonken

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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