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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.45%
Worth A Look: 29.41%
Pretty Bad: 1.96%
Total Crap: 0%

6 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Sweet and Lowdown
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by EricDSnider

"Dear jazz: I love you. Love, Woody Allen. P.S. I also love young girls."
4 stars

Woody Allen's faux-reality-based story about 1930s jazz guitarist Emmet Ray, complete with "experts" discussing the details of his fictitious life, is an enjoyable, insignificant little comedy with an almost hauntingly dark undertone to it.

"Sweet and Lowdown" aspires to nothing more than making you smile, occasionally laugh out loud, and maybe recommend it to a friend.

Sean Penn plays Emmet Ray, the second-best jazz guitarist in the world, after Django Reinhardt (though some critics say Emmet's the best, a fact which he points out whenever possible). Much is made by other characters of Emmet colossal ego, but it's actually quite a bit more complicated than that. He's always telling people what a great artist he is, but he usually seems more sweet and gently pitiable than arrogant.

This is a man whose idea of fun is going to the dump to shoot rats with a pistol. He takes dates there, in fact. He's fond of stealing small items for no reason, too. He's a man who enjoys drinking and having sex, which causes no small amount of conflict with the people who pay him to perform in their nightclubs and would like it if he'd show up on time and sober.

Most of all, Emmet loves his music. He really is a great guitarist, and if he supresses his feelings in real life, it's only so they can come out all the sweeter in his playing.

He falls in love with Hattie (Samantha Morton), a mute girl who innocently falls for him, too. Morton makes more of her non-speaking character than many have done in speaking a thousand lines, perfectly conveying the sadness inherent in loving someone who loves his art more than he loves you.

Penn is quite endearing as Emmet Ray, too. Though not often considered a comic actor these days, Penn displays great energy and conviction in his performance, making Emmet far more likable than he might have been otherwise.

Emmet's ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs, are shown in a breezy 90-some minutes. The point? Don't look for one. It's amusing, and it has a great old jazz soundtrack. What more do you want?

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originally posted: 07/06/03 20:18:05
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User Comments

8/17/09 william allen Woody' movies are not ALL masterpieces, but this one is! 5 stars
6/13/04 Ass^trid If you like brilliant acting and have a fascination for human trainwrecks (I do), see! 4 stars
12/08/03 john brilliant - funny and with a truly engaging story 5 stars
6/18/03 Andrew Callaway Watching it you wouldn't know it's Woody Allen. Dispite that... It's very good. 5 stars
3/27/03 Jack Sommersby A lovely film. Penn and Morton are marvelous. Only errs when Thurman's onscreen. 5 stars
8/30/02 owenmeany2 Sweet, smart and very beautiful. Great visuals and great acting, what more do you want? 5 stars
7/03/00 PJ made my top ten of 99 easily. Penn and Moton were brilliant, Woody can't go wrong!!! 5 stars
3/19/00 Skye Chapman ho-hum 2 stars
3/16/00 Heather Very funny, one of the year's best 5 stars
3/12/00 Malbert A lot of funny parts, some slow...acting was great(except for Thurman) 3 stars
3/11/00 "Persnickety "Jenn could have been shorter, cute, 3 stars
1/19/00 Benjamin McGough An enjoyable movie no Allen or Penn fan should miss. 4 stars
1/01/00 Tyson Stewart Such a great concept and sweet film!!! One of the year's best. 5 stars
12/05/99 MrShowbiz The presence of an engrossing Sean Penn adds a unique savor to this Woody Allen film. 3 stars
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  21-Jan-2000 (PG-13)


  13-Jul-2000 (M)

Directed by
  Woody Allen

Written by
  Woody Allen

  Sean Penn
  Samantha Morton
  Uma Thurman
  Anthony LaPaglia
  Gretchen Mol
  John Waters

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