Film Scouts Reviews

"Deconstructing Harry"

by Karen Jaehne

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What a cast! What are they doing here? Is the story like a sprung girdle, just to accommodate so many big names? How do they know they won't be left on the editing room floor? Why do they all want to be in Woody Allen movies?

Woody Allen's latest raises more questions than a four-year-old in a sex-shop. It's about a writer who fictionalizes all the people in his life, creating still recognizable monsters of them. We get to see both versions, and it's hard to say which one is worse - the real friend/lover/ex-wife of Woody/Block or the novelized version. It's easy to understand why none of them like Block, and watching the umbilocentric (a fancy word for self-centered and selfish) writer doesn't make us like him any more than his ex-wives do.

The movie did little more to me than making me feel like one of those ex-wives. Go away, I kept saying, go away and leave me alone - I've had enough of you, Woody. Enough, do you hear? And don't you dare portray me as a monster!

See. It's not a pretty picture.

Allen's career is extensive enough that we're beginning to see a pattern. He does not play well with others. Whenever he gets in a snit and makes a movie to show us how he suffers, he is insufferable. And this is his worst movie since Stardust Memories. It's what I call the Eight and a Laugh syndrome: nobody understands me because I'm too funny. No, Woody, we all understand. You're just better when you're directing a story that is not yours. Yours is not interesting.

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