Anything Else Woody Allen

Anything Else Woody Allen
Anything Else, the latest romantic comedy from Woody Allen, is more of a throwback to 1977's Annie Hall than a truly new effort from the once great auteur. This time, Jason Biggs is enlisted to play the struggling writer (Jerry Falk) looking for love in the city (New York). Essentially, he's little more than a much younger and less gawky version of Allen, who himself stars as Falk's mentor David Dobel, a psychotic, paranoid, aspiring stand-up comedian who dreams of quitting his job as an elementary school teacher. Of course, the mentor/protégé relationship naturally lends itself to plenty of tangential musings on the nature of love, lust, and life, and Allen is not one to pass up such ripe opportunities for comic satire. But despite some witty moments, the dialogue inevitably becomes rambling and circular. Even Christina Ricci — delightful as Falk's impossibly neurotic girlfriend Amanda — appears onscreen for less time than Allen, who imprints Anything Else with his inimitable yet somewhat intrusive signature. The idyllic depiction of his beloved hometown also demonstrates an unsettling disregard for the stark reality of post-9/11 New York. Overall, this bare-bones DVD makes a decent rental for any Allen fans left standing (is there anybody out there?), but younger viewers lured by Biggs and Ricci will likely be disappointed by the lack of phallic humour, bare breasts and inadvertent ingestion of bodily fluids. American Pie this ain't. Plus: cast and crew bios, production notes. (DreamWorks/Universal)