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.
Al, Louise, Max and Sy - four literary types who work in the theater business - are discussing what they believe to be the real life truths underlying their work, Max who writes primarily tragic plays, and Sy who writes primarily comic plays. Al proceeds to tell them a real story of a troubled woman named Melinda Robicheaux showing up unexpectedly at a door in the middle of an important business dinner party. Melinda long ago left her physician husband to embark on a relationship with who she initially believed to be the man of her dreams, which ended up not being the case. Melinda tries to put her life back together with the help of select people at the dinner party, some who have their own ulterior motives. Melinda's appearance also opens up the cracks existing in the marriage of one of the couples at the dinner party, while it leads to the dissolution of a friendship that has existed since college. With this basic outline of a story, Max and Sy try to make their point of life being... Written by
Winona Ryder was originally cast as Melinda, but was forced to drop out, because no agency would insure her, due to her infamous 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 »
Melissa had a reputation of being post-modern in bed.
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This film probably marks the crucial point where Woody Allen takes one step back and lets others take over the Woody persona of a typical Allen film. It's happened before, in Celebrity and Anything Else, but now the lead characters can breathe as themselves without having to essentially 'be Woody'. Sure the resemblances are still there but more in the situations than in the characters. Will Ferrell displays proper comic timing and Jonny Lee Miller tries valiantly with what he's given. The script sparkles with more one-liners than most recent efforts and an appropriate return of the 'lust for life' motif seen in earlier films such as Hannah and Her Sisters or Everyone Says I Love You. If you don't appreciate that comic situations are both sad and full of life, and that tragedy has a fair share of unexpected delights as well as heartache, than you're definitely missing the point. Woody displays both of these in equal quantity spread liberally throughout the film in all situations. And so what if the end plays more like a series of sketches than a full-on film? It's the mark of a master than can make us enjoy what we see regardless of narrative form. 8 out of 10.
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