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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.45%
Worth A Look: 8.16%
Average: 2.04%
Pretty Bad57.14%
Total Crap: 10.2%

5 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Anything Else
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by Tony Hansen

"Biggs & Allen: 2 Geniuses, 1 Movie, 0 Fun"
2 stars

Finally. Finally, Jason Biggs and Woody Allen have joined their comedic forces and created a work that will be talked about for, well, the next, I donít know, couple of paragraphs. It seems only natural that Woodyís star power and Jasonís star power would align themselves at some point and gravitationally pull each other into some monumental creative collaboration. With "Anything Else" that time is now. And whatís the result? One big steaming pile of mediocrity. Thatís what we get. Yep, thatís right. Another year has gone by and another crap factory has been created by Woody Allen.

Remember when Woody Allen used to be a genius? Remember when we would go to the theater and see the next piece of innovative cleverness that only Allen could give us? I donít. You see, I grew up in the post-Husbands and Wives days and the only positive memories that I have of Woody Allen is renting movies that had come out fifteen years earlier. Thatís Woody Allenís legacy. Heís not an artist of today; heís an artist of fifteen years ago. Today, Allen tries really, really hard to entertain but he just canít get it up anymore.

Tragically, and this is his fatal flaw, Allen is totally and completely desperate, and it shows. Itís just sad. These days he makes light romantic comedies which are too light and too fantastical to gain any type of popularity. And itís painfully obvious that this is what Allen desperately wants. He wants to be popular again. He doesnít want to be just that guy who married his Asian kind-of-daughter, so heís trying to give people what he thinks that they want. Fluff. Cotton candy. Maybe this is also wrapped up into some attempt to make money for his studio. Maybe heís been giving an ultimatum Ė make funny or else. Whatever the case may be, the truth is he canít do it anymore. Heís lost his ability to make a consistently funny movie. Is he trying too hard? Maybe. Or maybe that part of his brain that made Sleeper and Bananas is slipping away. I hate to say it, but maybe heís just too old to be funny.

Enter Anything Else Ė Woody Allenís latest attempt for some good, old fashioned fan love. Slow and uninspired Anything Else is the work of a lazy old man. Back in the 1970s when Neil Simon wrote, I believe, Star Spangled Girl a New York critic said of Simon, ďThis year Neil Simon didnít have an idea for a play, but he wrote one anyway.Ē Allen has, indeed, written one anyway. Yet, he didnít plunk out some sort of crappity, crap, crap like Hollywood Ending. No, instead, Allen lazily decided to remake Annie Hall. He decided that twenty five years was a sufficient enough time to update his most beloved film. He also decided that he wanted to get the Loser crowd so he threw in Jason Biggs (Notorious B.I.G.G.S) and Christina Ricci, thus making his film not quite for adults yet not quite for the youngsters (Iím guessing the pie humping crowd probably will have little desire to hear Biggs talk about the work of Camus and use words like ďpontificate.Ē)

Moreover, Anything Else reemphasizes the fact that Allenís crazy manipulation of popular personalities has to stop. I donít know if I can watch another talented, charismatic celebrity like Jimmy Fallon, talk about how great it is to finally work for the legend, Woody Allen, and then have his/her talent neutered and discarded. These days Allen has the amazing ability to transform the gifted into drones who have to spit out chunky, awkward, unnatural dialogue. If itís true that with some directors you can watch a bit of their film and know who made it, itís true with Allen that you can hear a bit of his dialogue and know who wrote it. And for Allen, thatís not really a good thing. He would be better served by developing another type of troupe of acting friends like he had with such talents as Diane Keaton, Diane Wiest, and Mia Farrow (I still have hope that the two will work it out (Oh, please. Oh, please. Oh, please.)), instead of driving forward this desperate desire to be nothing more than the center of a six degrees of separation game.

But back to Anything Else.

As Iím sure anyone who is reading this review has probably read an overview of the story and does not need me to further reiterate the key elements of the plot, but suffice it to say Anything Else is a film about fidelity and finding oneself. Itís all pretty basic stuff and itís nothing that Allen hasnít done before and better. The only semi-redeeming quality in Anything Else is Allenís own performance. Cowardly, beaten up, and probably insane Allenís David Dobel represents the likely growth of every Allen character of the past thirty years. This is what Alvy Singer would become. This is the path of Isaac Davis. An Allen character with age is the same as one younger, only life has battered him into learned ridiculousness. Theyíre insightfully insane. I wish Allen, himself, was the same.

Allenís films consistently deal with the existence of God. In terms of his career, Allen has developed another issue that must, for him and his fans, bring into question Godís beingness. How can bad films happen to good film makers? Iím afraid that Allen does not have anything else left.

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originally posted: 10/20/03 10:21:17
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User Comments

6/03/05 John Aster Habig funny but with mountains of other Woody films it is hard to compare 4 stars
5/28/05 Gary Some good one-liners but ultimately left me very unsatisfied 2 stars
4/18/05 Abbath Too meandering for its own good. Never settles. 3 stars
3/17/05 Chin Mu Still the Woody style, small humor stewing its heat, and give you a lesson in the end. 5 stars
2/07/05 Graham Cooper One of Woody's better recent efforts. Nice study of human relationships. Ricci is great! 4 stars
5/30/04 Monster W. Kung A rehash of Annie Hall, except crappy. 2 stars
4/20/04 Charles Tatum The cast is in over their heads, stock characters, Allen miscasts himself! 2 stars
2/15/04 Jingo P. Remember when Woody Allen was TALENTED?! 1 stars
1/21/04 Does anyone know 20-somethings like these characters? If so, do us a favor and kill them. 1 stars
12/04/03 Andrew Callaway Why god? Why? Why are you doing this to me? 1 stars
10/24/03 Jason King Funny. 4 stars
10/02/03 john i liked it 4 stars
9/30/03 Michael A true winner after some of his recent letdowns. Has an insightful message if you look 5 stars
9/24/03 nr great 5 stars
9/22/03 The F-Bomb snuck in.walked out.nuff least i didnt pay for this shit! 1 stars
9/21/03 Gary Barker bad acting, unsympathetic characters 1 stars
9/21/03 Brian Maher Best movie on the screen in YEARS!!! This one's a winner! 5 stars
9/19/03 andrey danilchenko this movie was hilarious. The jokes were funny and owrked, and the acting was outstanding, 5 stars
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  19-Sep-2003 (R)
  DVD: 06-Jul-2004



Directed by
  Woody Allen

Written by
  Woody Allen

  Jason Biggs
  Christina Ricci
  Woody Allen
  Stockard Channing
  Jimmy Fallon
  Danny DeVito

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