Friday, December 02, 2011

1651- Melinda & Melinda

This is probably one of my favorite posters for a Woody film.  I don't know why I wanted to revisit this one, but here I am.  It really isn't one of Woody's finer films by any means.  The premise is very interesting - can a story (and therefore any story) be a drama or a comedy based on how it's told?  The film follows parallel story lines with only Radha Mitchell's Melinda carrying over from one to the other.  Great premise, years ago I thought about writing something like this, I think I still might at some point as my take would be a quite different.  I think the main problem with this film is the casting is wrong and, honestly, doesn't really work.  He'd originally planned it for Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jr, and I think that would have worked a lot better.  The dialogue feels written and a bit stilted here, and I don't think it's overly different from the majority of Allen's writing, so I'm going to blame the cast.  This film came on the backend of a series of films that were not so successful for Woody and so he probably didn't have his usual situation where he could re-cast and re-shoot stuff if needed.  Luckily we're back into a golden age for Woody and shouldn't have to have those kinds of things hurting his films and process.
So this isn't essential Woody - it's got a great premise and a few enjoyable scenes and moments, but it feels cold and empty, sadly.  Not one of his worst films by any means, it hovers somewhere in the middle.

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