As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Melinda & Melinda

Posted by Hedwig on September 6, 2008

To deepen my knowledge of Woody Allen, I probably should be watching his older films and not the recent, mixed-review getting ones. Well, tell that to the video store near my parents’ place. I think they have a grand total of 30 films older than, say, 1998, and none of those are by Allen.

So, me and my dad, browsing through, decided to Melinda and Melinda. Our alternative was The French Connection, but we wanted my mom to watch along with us and figured the Allen would stand more of a chance. And? Well, we all sorta kinda liked it.

The conceit is that a dramatist and comedy writer take the same premise and similar characters and spin different stories, to determine which one is most true to life (or something). The framing scenes are very weak, to be honest, but luckily Allen doesn’t take much time with them.

The tragedy with Allen, really, is that he wants to do tragedy, but he’s much better at comedy, and even managed to elicit more feelings and compassion with comedy than with tragedy. Aside from Chiwetel Ejiofor, I thought the dramatic half of the movie was fairly lackluster, with whiny, shallow protagonists and much too contrived drama. The comedy half, however, is very funny, and in that part you can clearly recognize Allen’s hand. Will Ferrell does a pretty good Allen impression, and adds his own oafish touch to it.

So, minor Allen? Sure. But even minor Allen has quotes like ” Of course we communicate. Now can we not talk about it anymore?” and

Greg: What do you do for exercise?
Hobie: Tiddly winks. And an occasional anxiety attack.

and, you know? Those might just be enough to make it worth watching.

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One Response to “Melinda & Melinda”

  1. (whispering so the Allen snobs don’t here me) I kinda liked this one too. It wasn’t a knock out and it hasn’t really stuck with me, but it went down fine at the time.

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