5.0 out of 5 stars
...and why isn't this film on DVD?, April 11 2001
Leonard Cohen wrote, "We asked for signs / The signs were sent / The birth betrayed / The marriage spent." "Husbands and Wives" may be the best take yet on the all-too-familiar conjugal derailment. In a form of self-assessment that sinks Allen like a fondue stick into the Underworld of the Self-Involved, the film manages to make us roar even as it dices up its players, Allen included. Pollack and Davis are particularly superb as their characters' marriage unravels. All of their pent-up acerbity shoots to the surface and just floats there, each spouse becoming more rancorous, brittle, desperately buoyant, and (to us) hilarious. Only a master like Allen could make something so awful seem so funny. The biggest joke, of course, is on Allen himself, but the fact that he knows his laugh lines so well makes the movie painful to watch. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity--but nothing is more vain than the middle-aged man seeking to confirm his sexual viability with a young woman--one who is as hungry for approval and as self-absorbed as the man she sleeps with.