Over a meal in a French restaurant, Sy poses a conundrum to his fellow diners: Is the essence of life comic or tragic? For the sake of argument, he tells a story, which the others then embellish to illustrate their takes on life. The story starts as follows: A young Manhattan couple, Park Avenue princess Laurel and tippling actor Lee, throw a dinner party to impress Lee's would-be producer when their long-lost friend Melinda appears at their front door, bedraggled and woebegone. In the tragic version of what happens next, the beautiful intruder is a disturbed woman who got bored with her Midwestern doctor-husband and dumped him for a photographer. Her husband took the children away and she spiraled into a suicidal depression that landed her straight-jacketed in a mental ward. In the comic version, Melinda is childless and a downstairs neighbor to the dinner hosts, who are ambitious Indy filmmaker Susan and under-employed actor Hobie. Back and forth the stories go, contrasting the ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Winona Ryder was originally cast as Melinda, but was forced to drop out because no agency would insure her due to her famous arrest for shoplifting. Woody Allen stated in the book "Conversations with Woody Allen" that he wanted to cast Ryder, but he couldn't get a bonding on her. See more »
At the beginning of the movie it is poring with rain and yet not a single car that drives by on the street has its windshield wipers on See more »
I'm an art historian... at least that's what I majored in at Brandeis.
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I thought that this film is right out of the classic Woody Allen mode. His theme of having events determined by others -- in this case, the writers -- was reminiscent of his one-act plays, "God" and "Death," and follows the tracks of the worldview he has always explored in his films. It was very well-written and crafted, an enjoyable night at the flicks.
One thing that struck me is that the character played by Will Ferrell is exactly the part that Woody can no longer play because he's too old. It was not long into the film before I discerned that these are lines that Woody had written for himself, the character he'd always played, but a younger man was delivering them for him. And that only added to the charm of the film for me.
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