"Woody Disappoints With What Should Have Been a Classic"
Celebrity (** Ĺ) - Woody Allen is one of the few filmmakers who can consistently entertain me with his films. Heís been on a roll lately with everything since Bullets Over Broadway - but this film is a miss.I felt almost cheated in a way that Woody doesnít really get inside the celebrity scene and why weíre so fascinated with it. Instead we get a series of scenes that donít really click the way we want them too. There are some very funny scenes and some very funny lines - but overall itís a letdown. He seems to be covering a lot of ground working with the modeling scene, actors, reporters, writers, criminals, and even a Jerry Springer-like TV show. Thatís fine, but thereís no real insight into any of these worlds. Allen just tries to jump from one world to the next with each subsequent scene without ever trying to link up any of these factions and try to discover why we give a shit about any of these people. Maybe thatís the whole point of the movie, but it doesnít really come across that way. Several scenes do work though, like the one with the Charlize Theron character which brings forth Branaghís best line in the film. The DiCaprio scenes also work, even though they are not more than 15 minutes of screen time total. Most of the scenes with Joe Mantegna work, including an early party scene thatís dead on, and the aforementioned backstage goings on of the Springeresque talk show. And I liked the scenes with Winona Ryder, including a late touching one, even though maybe itís not because it involves cheating on a lover. Celebrity also has, arguably, the funniest scene involving teaching oral homage. I think one of the things that really drags the film down is the Judy Davis character. Her performance is good, but she belongs in another movie. Every scene that centers around her is really a hard pill to swallow.All in all itís a miss from a writer who shouldíve come up with something snazzier than what he did. The idea of a TV producerís nephew wanting an autograph from Charles Manson is good stuff and should be the root of what is explored. Another scene early in the film that frames Branagh and only Melanie Griffithís body from the shoulders down while she goes on yapping is truly terrific. The answer to whatís missing from this movie can be found somewhere in that scene.