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Anything Else (2003)

  Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Jason Biggs, Stockard Channing, Danny DeVito, Christina Ricci
Links: Anything Else on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"All talking, no substance" - a review by pearly

I've seen surprisingly few Woody Allen movies in my time on this green earth. I tend to go by the classic line from The Simpsons:

Marge: Did anyone see that new Woodsy Allen movie?
Ned: You know, I like his films except for that nervous fellow that's always in them.

Allen is, by my calculations, an interesting guy, but kinda a nerdy one at that - almost like the film equivalent of Bob Dylan: you appreciate him and even love him, but you can see he hasn't got everything working on his side.

And just as some geniuses begin to falter in their latter years, Anything Else isn't really that great of a film. In fact, Allen seems to have been in his latter years for about the last thirty years. Listen, much as though it's an overused term, you either love him or you hate him as an actor. And that basically means you either love or hate his movies, because he almost always has an acting part in anything he's written and/or directed.

The females in the cast far outweigh the males in terms of quality. Christina Ricci conveys more feeling through her facial expressions than the cringe-worthy Jason Biggs manages with anything he tries to do (seriously, why did Allen bother with him?), and Stockard Channing outdoes Danny DeVito, the latter of which reminded me of a shorter (inferior) copy of Jon Polito's brow-mopping private snoop character from The Big Lebowski (1998).

The concept for Anything Else is an interesting one. It explores a young couple's relationship and particularly, the female portion of the couple's reluctance to engage in sexual activity, although they have had a health sexual relationship in the past. However, much of this concept is glossed over in preference for long speeches from Allen about whatever he feels like blabbering on about at that point in time. I knew going in that Anything Else would involve comedy, and would not be taking itself too seriously, but I expected a little more of a serious, in-depth plot, where it ended up being a fairly shallow excuse to move from one joke to the next.

What it comes down to is that there's not much to this film. From what I know of Allen, usually there are things that you can get out of Allen's monologues, things that run deeper than what's on the surface. This doesn't seem to be the case with Anything Else - it's all just dipping of feet into the pond.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 20 Feb 2004

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