by Greg Muskewitz
I have finally completed a dual missing link by killing two birds with one stone. Or two points of interest with one viewing. Everyone Says I Love You was the one Woody Allen movie from Mighty Aphrodite until Small Time Crooks that I had not seen, and the one movie of Natalie Portman's, not counting the short movie Developing, unviewed.My common assertion was that Allen, up until Crooks, has not had a decent movie since Mighty, and I can now stick by that. A jazzy, schmaltzy musical, featuring the likes of Allen, Alan Alda, Goldie Hawn, Natasha Lyonne, Drew Barrymore, Portman, Gaby Hoffmann, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts, Tim Roth, Lucas Haas, and Billy Crudup, I must at least give credit to Allen for a semi-entertaining, unusual musical. But that doesn't clear the charges of a dull plot, that just chugs and chugs on. All Everyone Says I Love You turns into is a musicalized soap opera; the storyline that I was interested in, that of having anything more to do with Portman, was all just summarized down into, "To make a long story short..." Which means, instead of showing us, it's compiled into a sentence with a quick visual. I think she was underused, but what little of her I saw, was still enjoyable, and from that time in 1996 where she's trotting around the New York beaches to 1999 where she was trotting around California beaches in Anywhere but Here, at the time she was so much more frail. And cute, but she's still as cute, if not more beautiful. Unfortunately, for too much of the movie, a feasible problem when you have a cast as large as it is, too many of the characters just stand or sit around doing nothing. And when they interact, or sing, all too often their eyes never meet, and it all looks very staged and static. Allen was tough, and sometimes frustrating to watch or listen to through his endless stammering and verbal sputtering. Nobody, per se, had an awful singing voice, though none have the lungs to make a career out of it, but in addition to the positive performance of Portman, in order of priority, Lyonne, Norton, Hoffmann, Roberts, and then Hawn do nicely, while Haas and Roth attract negative attention to their acting. The rest are indifferent. One of the other plusses is the plushy, soft cinematography by Carlo DiPalma, and the elegant long takes and tracking shots that mostly compose this.Final Verdict: C+.
"Not enough Natalie."
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originally posted: 01/13/01 09:42:03