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.
Holden and Skylar are in love with each other. Skylar lives with a large and extended family on Manhattan. Her parents, Bob and Steffi have been married to each other for many years. Joe, a friend of theirs, who has a daughter, DJ, with Steffi. After yet another relationship, Joe is alone again. He flees to Venice, and meets Von, and makes her believe that he is the man of her dreams. However, their happiness is fake all the way, and she returns to her previous husband. Steffi spends her time with charity work, and manages to break up Skylars and Holdens relation when she introduces Skylar to a released jailbird, Charles Ferry. Written by
in an early scene with Julia Roberts in the museum, Woody Allen is wearing long white pants. When he walks away, he's wearing khaki shorts. Later, he's wearing the white pants again. See more »
[Sitting in the funeral parlor]
What's it all about? I ean, what - what are we doing? We're rushing... we're rushing...
Where are we going?
[Commenting as a sidebar to Lane about their parents]
They're so old.
...into the void.
That's it. The void is it? You know, I never believed in God!
No, I didn't... not even asa little kid. I used - I used to think - I remember this - I used to think even if he exists, he's done such a terrible job!
It's a wonder people...
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If you get everything you ever wanted, you still aren't satisfied because your own fantasies can never be truly fulfilled in the real world. It's kind of what Woody Allen is saying by making this movie into a goofy musical. It's his own fantasy of what movies used to be like, but can't ever be anymore. The small touches of realism, like the grocery store heist or the homeless man breaking out into song provide both humor and a commentary on how unsubstantial and irrelevant musicals are. But aren't they fun?
The most obvious example of the theme is the Julia Roberts storyline. She gets everything she ever wanted, but instead of making her happy in her new life, it helps her therapy for her old life. Joe was married to Steffi, all the woman he ever wanted, but he was so afraid it would fall apart that it did fall apart. Skylar wants a man to take control and sweep her off her feet, but when Charles Ferry comes along and does just that, she can't live with the consequences. There are other examples.
The execution of the movie is awkward and sometimes off-putting. But this movie is an experiment in form x function - what kind of story lends itself to the musical form? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. For example, it used to be that musicals helped you into the mood by introducing songs, something that couldn't be done here because of the very nature of the story. It can be stagey and forced if you're not already in the mood. On the whole, however, everyone seems to be having a good time, and it shows up in mostly loose, endearing performances - even the ever-annoying Goldie Hawn, who I'd normally want to toss in the river in any other movie.
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