Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Branagh has none of Allen's flair for comedy."

This isn't about Leonardo DiCaprio trashing his hotel room, or Melanie Griffith servicing a reporter to get a magazine profile. It isn't about fame at all. It's about sex.

Woody Allen is at it again. This time his alter ego is Lee Simon (Kenneth Branagh), who behaves like a bumbling idiot around women and yet finds them inexplicably attracted. At first, you think it's because he moves in fashionable circles and writes for a sophisticated glossy. But no, it's him (it's Woody). Even the flirtatious, irresistible Nola (Winona Ryder) sneaks out at midnight for a secret assignation.

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Branagh is not an obvious rival to Brad Pitt and yet all these beauties (Ryder, Charlize Theron, Famke Janssen) are vying for his affection. The one who isn't, Robin Simon (Judy Davis), his ex, thinks he's a rat, which is about right. She is emotionally all over the place and on the edge of a nervous something-or-other. Despite this, she is more interesting than Lee, who falls victim to every temptation. Like a bad poker player, he has an addictive personality and is bound to lose.

The film sprawls and hasn't anything to say, except that arty types are boring. Allen's style is as loose as it was in Husbands And Wives, with a cast of hundreds, none of whom hold your attention for long.

Davis's look of impending disaster loses its appeal after the 15th false alarm and you find yourself thinking, why doesn't she pull herself together? The world of TV tittle-tattle, movie making and show biz journalism is rootless and superficial. Branagh has none of Allen's flair for comedy. You miss Diane Keaton. You miss the warmth of Radio Days.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Woody Allen comedy that is more about sex than fame.
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Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Hank Azaria, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Melanie Griffith, Famke Janssen, Winona Ryder

Year: 1998

Runtime: 117 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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