Saturday, January 28, 2006

Melinda and Melinda

After a shout out on John's blog and an extremely favorable review on Ebert and Roeper's Podcast, I decided it was time to stop passing up this latest Woody Allen pic and just see it already.

I've seen a great deal of Woody Allen's movies, and though his work has never been able to match the brilliance of Annie Hall (best picture 1977, gotta love Christopher Walken as the (surprise) creepy brother), most of his films have been good -- entertaining at least. Sleeper is another one of my favorites, and Crimes and Misdemeanors and Deconstructing Harry are very well written.

Allen's films all carry with them his worldview, something that makes them indisputably HIS. You will never mistake a Woody Allen pic for the work of another director.

I've always felt that I'm watching the work of a brilliant storyteller/filmmaker, even if his subject matter often leaves a bad taste. After each movie I feel a little disappointed that Allen did all that great writing and didn't actually say anything worthwhile. It's a little like reading Palahniuk.

Anyway, the premise of this movie is whether life at it's core is more fully a tragedy or a comedy. Melinda is the constant in both stories told by different storytellers -- one telling a comedic tale and the other a tragic tale. Remember Sliding Doors? Yeah, same premise...

It turns out that life is actually tragic, because neither story ends up being funny...But Will Ferrell is the male lead in the comedic, so that helps us keep the stories straight. It is a very amusing movie, even with the flawed premise -- Allen's writing is as strong as ever. The movie is worth the rental fee just to see Ferrell in a somewhat serious "comedic" role. Plus his Woody Allen impression is spot on.


Beth said...

Great movie. I watched it about a month ago by myself because nobody else wanted to view it. They should have.

Jenn Swift said...

Hi Tim. Got to your site through Erik and barely knew you in college... but isn't that what's funny about the blog world. But I saw this movie on a plane to overseas and sensed that it did much better with a European audience. People there had heard of it. A lot of Americans haven't... and are more surprised that they just haven't heard of a movie with Will Ferrill in it. It was entertaining. I didn't love it, but liked it. Was glad to have it offered on a flight.

Nice coincidence, Sliding Doors was on TV last night. Thought the same about the comparison between the two.