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.
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.
In medias res: narrator Jerry Falk, a fledgling comedy writer with an inept agent, is about to celebrate an anniversary with his girlfriend Amanda. There's trouble in paradise: she's late (and has already eaten), she's been uninterested in sex for months, and her quixotic mother is moving in with them. Jerry looks back to meeting Amanda and dumping Brooke. A constant is his friendship with another wannabe comedy writer, a 60 year old teacher named David, prone to long walks and advice filled talks. As Amanda and Jerry's relationship founders and her mom's noisy presence makes writing difficult for him, he and David plan something different. Wouldn't anything else be better? Written by
Carlo Di Palma, Allen's former cinematographer, came out of retirement to work with Allen on this film. Di Palma had to take a physical exam so the studio could determine if he was an insurance risk. But Di Palma failed the physical and the studio could not insure him. He died two years later. See more »
When Falk types on his laptop computer, the number of (enlarged) typed lines alternates between at least five or six in close-up and just two or three at a distance. See more »
You know, there's great wisdom in jokes, Falk, really. There's an old joke about a prizefighter who's in the ring, and he's getting killed, he's getting his brains beat out; and his mother's in the audience, and she's watching him getting beaten up in the ring, and there's a priest next to her, and she says 'Father, father, pray for him, pray for him!' The priest says 'I will pray for him, but if he could punch it would help!' There's more insight in that joke, into what I call the...
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I've always been a big fan of Woody Allen. He's the sort of Director (and I guess actor as well) that you either love or hate. There's no middling territory in that regard...
Anyway, in this film, I particularly admire the way that he's riskily used Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci. I've always found the latter to have great promise...As a child in Adams Family Values when she verbally attacked the somewhat "up his own arse" Summer Camp leader over what she perceived to be the hypocrisy of "Thanks Giving", I stood up in the cinema in ovation...Note that talking or shouting or clapping in a British cinema (I'm British) is strictly forbidden (except during showings of Star Wars)...However, with the sole exception of Buffalo 66, Christina has flopped over recent years and I hope for her sake that Woody Allen has now helped to relight the fire inside.
Jason Biggs is another quantity altogether. The only film I've ever seen him before this one was American Pie. (American Sh*te more like!) But, all actors are obviously talented people and deserve the opportunity to show what they can really do at some stage or other...Like Bruce Willis's coming of age and quality in Pulp Fiction, or Jim Carey's in The Truman Show, Jason Biggs may now have turned a corner and opened the doors onto a new level in his Hollywood career.
The film particularly struck a raw nerve with me as after breaking up recently with the love of my life, I saw the exact/or at least very similar thing happen to Bigg's character in this film. Allen's brilliant characterisation and understanding of even the most insane people and situations, helped me a little to come to terms with some things which in my own life are causing me a lot of pain at the moment. Girls like Ricci's character do exist (surely in abundance) and more more or less normal guys like myself and Biggs in 21st Century city life really do find that getting it right as our parents' generation did much more easily in "love", is like looking for a needle in a haystack...My search, needless to say, goes on. Thanks Woody! You are my Shrink!
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