Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Lenny and Amanda have an adopted son Max who turns out to be brilliant. Lenny becomes obsessed with finding Max's real parents because he believes that they too must be brilliant. When he finds that Linda Ash is Max' real mother, Lenny is disappointed. Linda is a prostitute and porn star. On top of that, she is quite possibly the dumbest person Lenny has ever met. Interwoven is a Greek chorus linking the story with the story of Oedipus. Written by
Jason Ihle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Spike Jones once said that his material was too corny for sophisticated people but too sophisticated for corny people. Woody Allen's material can lend itself to similar critique. Mighty Aphrodite has a superb balance between sophistication and corn.
The Greek chorus idea is very well used, both at a sophisticated level - the film is essentially a modernised Greek drama - and at a corn level (when the chorus morphed into a more Broadway-style chorus Janie avoided the cheese by going into the kitchen and uncorking the wine). The Greek myth theme is well done throughout - I loved the appeal to Zeus especially. Also the deus ex machina resolution was terrific fun, although I think not entirely original (I believe it was Cocteau who previously used the helicopter as a visual deus ex machina).
Fine performances - Mira Sorvino is a super "tart with a heart". Even Helena Bonham Carter is more effectively used in this film than in her standard Merchant Ivory roles, although I thought she lacked chemistry with Woody. Good also to see F Murray Abraham as the leader of the chorus - why do we see so little of him these days?
I'm a fan of Woody, but he has been patchy in the last 10 years or so. With this one, he really was in sparkling form. Well worth seeing.
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