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Now I remember when Scenes From A Mall first came out, it got absolutely atrocious reviews. I wasn't old enough to see it then, but I loved the idea of a movie with two of my comedy heroes, Woody Allen and Bette Midler. In fact, I had almost forgotten about this movie until I read a review of the newest Woody Allen movie, "Small Time Crooks" in which the reviewer said that Allen hadn't had as good chemistry as he had with Tracey Ullman with another actress since Scenes From A Mall. So I went out and found the movie, and the reviewer was definitely correct. The two stars have masterful chemistry, although it's almost ridiculous to believe Woody Allen and Bette Midler would be together, but then again isn't that it in most of his movies. I mean does anyone believe he could have gone to bed with Mira Sorvino, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Elisabeth Shue, I mean even Judy Davis is a big stretch. Well whatever. The problem I had with the movie is that it is more like an absurdist play than a real movie. This married couple go to the mall on their anniversary and both reveal they have had affairs. The film is believable except for the wild and sudden reactions that Bette Midler's character has to Allen's revelations. She knees him in the groin and screams at him. Now nobody enjoys Bette Midler's antics more than I do (think the phone call scene in Ruthless People) but I just didn't buy it. It was like Bette Midler was dying to have moments of big ballsy comedy inserted into a more serious film. Then of course they make up, which isn't very believable either, nor is it funny. Then she reveals her affair and Allen overreacts. At this point I was like in disbelief that anyone would expect us to swallow such a hackneyed and predictable reaction and story set up. Of course they're more fighting, and an annoying mime (hello? they stole it from tootsie) and lots of garish on again off again reactions. Gee I wonder what happens at the end? It's not a hard one to predict folks. It was perfectly enjoyable though, but when you think about it in your head you realize it's really not such a with it piece of work. The movie reminded me of Midler's more recent film "That Old Feeling" where she again overreacts with big screaming fights that are supposed to be hysterical. The couple in that movie also go do an on again off again thing with lots of screaming in between. Like I said, they're both enjoyable and Midler radiates charm but why does she keep saying yes to this terrible s**t? She's a good actress, and she should be doing better comedy's not this terrible lowbrow material, (hello Drowning Mona was beyond embarrasing, its already the worst film of the year). All in all, scenes from a mall is worth it for the great chemistry between the two stars and its pretty cute. But why anyone would think that we would enjoy seeing Woody Allen in a ponytail is beyond me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Probably they were thinking that they just could not miss by casting
Woody Allen and Bette Midler (and as a married couple, at that !) BUT
they gave them a story that started out quite alright with the usual
Woody/Bette type bantering. They decided to celebrate their anniversary
with a mutual clumsy stripping in bed amidst interrupting business
phone calls. Bette Midler's bare butt is not for everyone ! This not
being enough, they go off to the mall to buy gifts for each other (a
surfboard to carry all through the mall ?) and a big box of sushi for
like $375 BUT Woody has a confession to make, they fight, are annoyed
by a mime (the terrific Bill Irwin totally wasted.
No fear that the ending will be revealed. I did something very rare. I turned off the movie long before it ended. These spoiled, silly, squabbling people were just unbearably annoying and that dreaded B word (boring). Give it a miss.
Even though the movie is pretty much everything that Woody Allen is not, it's still somewhat enjoyable to see him paired with the amazing Bette Midler. The story is interesting to say the very least: it's their anniversary, and Nick (Allen) decides to share a secret. It so happens that they are located in a mall, and the drama is surrounded and contrasted by hundreds of neons, stores, billboards, colors, and excitement. In the midst of all this, a life shared for years is crumbling down, as Nick is not the only one with a secret. The movie, being interesting as it is, has its flaws. The dynamic between Deb (Midler) and Nick is sometimes unbearable as it shifts drastically from one side to another. They are both on two separate rollercoasters, and it's can be annoying. Perhaps the most charming feature is its never-ending symbolism. Every little thing can be interpreted as many different things in the movie, and I don't think the movie should be taken in as it is. There are many interesting aspects in the movie, and as always, Woody Allen delivers with his almost-there-over-the-top performance. All in all, it's probably not the easiest and not the best thing Allen has been a part of, but it's still worth it to see him yelling and talking about sex...because it always is.
Review: Although this movie wasn't written and directed by Woody Allen,
it still has the same concept as lot of his movies. It's basically
about a couple who are celebrating there 16th wedding anniversary and
while they are out shopping, Allen's character admits to finishing an
affair the day before. After threatening divorce, his wife also admits
to an affair so the long relationship is in turmoil whilst still
shopping in the mall. Woody Allen has definitely got something for this
troubled relationship concept, even when he hasn't written or directed
the film himself. I did enjoy the chemistry between both of the
characters and there banter was amusing in parts but the storyline was
a bit silly for me. For such a loving couple, I don't know why they
chose to tell each other such a deep secret in the mall, especially
with a dinner planned for later on that day. Anyway, it's a silly
romantic comedy which is mostly based in the mall, hence the title,
which goes a bit over the top after a while.
Round-Up: Well, I have now completed my Woody Allen season and it really does feel like I have watched a really long film based around troubled relationships and infidelity, with a New York backdrop. None of his earlier projects are anywhere near Blue Jasmine, which is also based around a troubled relationship but it's Cate Blanchett that made that movie brilliant. Most of the movies with Mia Farrow were quite dull but the films with Diane Keaton were much better. He's not the most versatile writers/directors and his comedy is warped and not that humorous but I'm sure that he entertains a certain type of audience, which I'm certainly not a part of.
Budget: $3million Worldwide Gross: $10million
I recommend this movie to people who are into there Woody Allen movies about a couple who are celebrating there 16th anniversary and admit to infidelity whilst shopping in a mall. 3/10
Woody Allen with a pony tail.
Need I say more.
Allen is a gifted filmmaker. I am currently trawling his oeuvre, and to be fair there has not been a film I couldn't watch (although Interiors did tax me) This is better than most actors bad films, and has a nice premise, moving in and out of a divorce as infidelities are admitted.
It has Bette Midler. It is one of her better films (The Rose apart, that is not saying much, and I love Bette Midler's music) However, whenever I see this film, I look at Woody's pony tail and wonder why he does films like this.
Still, nice colours, annoying mime, surprisingly little product placement, so worth a watch on a quiet Sunday
I'm a big Woody Allen fan, so naturally I got a sufficient amount of laughs
from the film (though he didn't write the script). But the movie plays out
like a stage play, and perhaps it would've worked better that way--like any
movie that centers solely on 2 characters. Allen and Midler have a fine
chemistry, and their banter is often amusing. But the infidelity thing
seemed to have been thrown in as a simple way to develop some sort of plot
and some sort of conflict. Are they gonna break up for good? Are they
gonna decide to stay together? Those who've seen films like these won't
have a tough time figuring the outcome.
"Scenes from a Mall" is funny, harmless entertainment, but not exactly a must-see.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
If you enjoy a film full of subtle one liners then this is one you must see. Allen and Midler are their best delivering on cue subtle gags which relate to our hidden fears at growing old. Sit back and enjoy and laugh especially if you're reaching that time of life.
I happened to rent Scenes From A Mall one time at a video store. The box made it look hilarious and I thought how could you beat a couple like Midler and Allen? But then I popped it into the VCR and was very disappointed. It dragged, it was incoherent, and an 87 minute movie made it seem like three hours. Midler and Allen go to a mall somewhere in L.A. for a wedding anniversary, while they are there Allen confesses to Midler that he has been having an affair with another woman. Midler then wants to file for a divorce but soon confesses to Allen that she has had an affair with another man. It is not a bad storyline but it just drags and leads to nowhere. The profanity level and sexual content is also unnecessary. I would say if you want to experience something like this go spend 87 minutes in a mall. But don't watch this because you will be very disappointed. It is a very unnecessary film.
Someone from Hollywood with a sympathetic heart should gather up all the prints of "Scenes from a Mall" and take a match to them. It would be an act of generosity. This comedy from Paul Mazursky is pretty much an appalling waste of film, and a waste of time for stars Woody Allen and Bette Midler. Allen and Midler play a California married couple 'celebrating' their 16 years together as husband and wife; they share a scene near the beginning in the bathtub, and see if you squirm through it as much as I did. I laughed one time during this atrocious fiasco (where Bette buys a new dress and Woody tells her she looks like his aunt). Otherwise, it's a claustrophobic drag with seemingly no script to fall back on. Everyone is winging it--badly. NO STARS from ****
Scenes from a Mall is a hard film to describe. It has a great premise,
two great leads that immediately click, a skilled director, and a
setting that is one of my favorites. Why the low rating? It's hard to
put my finger on what actually goes wrong. The best way is to pick and
choose certain scenes and events to explain why the film becomes
inferior to expectations.
The film is about Woody Allen and Bette Midler playing Nick and Deborah Fifer, a married couple with more baggage than you'd expect. He is a stressed out executive, and she is a marital psychotherapist. In honor of their sixteenth anniversary, they both agree to go to a trendy mall in order to pick up their anniversary gifts. She gets him a surfboard, with his name engraved on it, and he gets her a beautifully framed picture of the entire family.
Deborah then finds out Nick has took part in several acts of infidelity. Nick then finds out Deborah has took part in several acts of infidelity. Rather than doing the logical thing and leaving the mall, they continue to wonder around the setting, squabbling, and getting attention from innocent bystanders.
Does this sound like a film you'd truly like to see? No. But considering the remarkable talent involved most Woody fans would see it solely because he is in it. Right off the bat, the premise is tiresome. We hear many conversations, incorporating lengthy monologues and several fights. Only about a half a dozen truly interesting. Mostly because there is no zest. The couple is right, and so is the tone, but the true killer is the uninspired dialog.
It doesn't seem to have much confidence in itself either. Because it's in a mall, or a sound stage built to look like a real functioning mall, inevitably, you like to look at all the background events. The film is pictorial, in every sense of the word. It relies on goofy setups rather than its own material. Maybe because it feels inferior, boring, or just plan self-conscious. Truthfully, it is a little boring, but those pictorial backdrops don't do much justice.
When Deborah buys Nick the surfboard, what does he have to do? Carry the thing around the mall for most of the film. Rather than walking out to the car, he has to carry a big, yellow, protruding board while they walk around the mall aimlessly. At least the film doesn't have some ridiculous cartoon gag where Woody Allen's character hits people with it.
There's also a mime, played by Bill Irwin, and he has got to be one of the most annoying film characters of all time. The mime is put in the mall to entertain shoppers, and in the film to provide a failure of comic relief. He mimics the bickering couple in frequent points of the film, and never seems to stop miming or being a nuisance. He's an unnecessary, poorly conceived character who has no purpose in a film like this.
Some scenes work, some scenes don't. Some scenes are funny, some aren't. It's a mere gamble. Woody Allen and Bette Midler create some undeniably fantastic chemistry, but the rest of the film fumbles because that is truly the only thing it has to offer. Scene from a Mall is cute and often harmless, but it suffers from a dreary script and "too cute of a setting" syndrome.
Starring: Bette Midler, Woody Allen, and Bill Irwin. Directed by: Paul Mazursky.
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