The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.
This is one of the dark comedies and didn't work for me. Allen is going with a high-school girl, falls for a woman nearer his own age, alienates his close friend, and finally decides -- too late -- that the younger girl is his soul mate. It ends ambiguously with her leaving for Europe. The plot is out of a soap opera. It does have some witty lines (almost all of them given to Allen himself) and a lot of inside New Yorker intellectual allusions, but, aside from the Gershwin score, isn't worth seeing twice. Really, it's pretty boring. The performances aren't bad, but Allen doesn't challenge himself either. It's his old neurotic, stuttering, put-upon persona that is by now more than familiar enough. There's just nothing new.
It isn't that Allen had run out of ideas by 1979 because he's made some successful films since then -- "Hollywood Ending" and "Broadway Danny Rose", for instance. But "Manhattan" is one of the many that simply got by me. It didn't seem charming. It seemed repetitious and pointless. I didn't bother counting the times someone meets another and says, "Hiii," using the contours of the fourth tone in Mandarin Chinese. And no one seems to say it just once during a given encounter, but several times. "Hii, hii -- how AHH you?"
I kept waiting for one of two things to happen. Either IT takes off or I get drawn in. But neither contingency was realized. I cared about the entanglements in "Annie Hall," but here it didn't matter to me who wound up with whom, and I never got the feeling that it mattered much to Allen either.
- Jun 4, 2004