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3.2 out of 5 stars
Anything Else
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on January 8, 2004
First of all, the 5 is for the film, not the DVD. How can I give five stars to a DVD with no extras? Remember the days that we bought movies because they were good, not because they had Richard Shickel commentaries...(I mean, isn't there a better critic?).
The film is excellent, it's my favorite Woody Allen film in recent years. I mean, I love Sweet and Lowdown and most of the 90s run...but there's something about this film. Jason Biggs does an excellent job playing a young neurotic...essentially Woody. For those who never noticed, most characters in a Woody Allen film are playing Woody Allen. Biggs does such a good job that has been cast in the next Allen film to come. Ricci is sexy and lovable despite the major flaws in her character. Danny Devito....oh man.
Don't be discouraged by the terrible cover art.
"It's like a man walking down the street in a new suit. Then suddenly, he sees another man wearing a better suit. Now he doesn't like the suit he has on anymore." - DeVito
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on December 24, 2003
Well, folks, watching this movie will illustrate what happens to a once-great comedic filmmaker when they've been surrounded with nothing but yes-men/women for the past 40 years. And this is coming from someone who loves Woody Allen and keeps giving his latest films a chance despite being repeatedly let down. As is the problem with many recent Woody outings, every single character talks like Woody Allen. No one sounds like a real person, everyone speaks as if they're reciting (flat) Allen dialogue. Also, everyone has the same interests, regardless of their age and/or vocation. These interests, of course, are Allen's interests. The protagonists are very young twentysomethings, one of whom is a struggling actress, the other a struggling comedy writer. They give books by Satre to each other as gifts and declare that CDs' sound quality ruin the experience of listening to their favorite artists like Billie Holiday (never mind the fact that vinyl LPs have been dormant as a popular format for so long that most of these young adults would probably have never heard an LP of Holiday even once in their lives). This isn't to say that a young twentysomething couldn't be an avid reader of existential literature and jazz purist, but a whole film full of them is pushing it. It would all be forgivable if the jokes were funny... they're not. Their limp and, many times, seemingly devoid of punchlines. The actors try to sell the material, however. Danny DeVito fares the best of anyone and Ricci does pretty well, Unfortunately, with Jason Biggs (the star of this film, mind you), Allen has found his most wooden, ill-at-ease leading man. It's staggering to see how completely Woody has lost it. He has laid cinematic turd after cinematic turd on the public for so many films now. "Hollywood Ending" was a good idea done horribly. "Curse of the Jade Scorpion," being a tribute to '30s and '40s screwball comedies, should've been the perfect genre for Woody to work in and, yet, it was dreary and unfunny. "Small Time Crooks" was somewhat amusing but a far cry from classic Allen. The last time Woody got it together to make a good film, in this writer's opinion, was "Sweet and Lowdown," due in no small part to Sean Penn & Samantha Morton's terrific turns. While watching "Anything Else," one cannot help but reflect on how many times Allen has visited the same formula with far, far greater success. One is tempted to call this "Annie Hall" lite but that would be an insult to "Annie Hall." As much as it breaks my heart to say it, someone should really tell Allen to stop making movies. But, he's Woody and people will continue to let him make movies. And he will continue to have the pick of any actor he desires. And, I will probably continue to sit down to his latest offering and shake my head in sad disbelief at how far he has declined. I just hope to be rewarded with something better than this dull, laughless crap. I hope, I don't expect.
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on December 24, 2003
Call me crazy; my view is, most likely, an autonomous one. I believe that this is Woody Allen's finest film ("Take the Money and Run" is a close second).
For the first time, Allen crafts an emotionally shattering and verisimilar work of art---something that he always dreamed of doing. ANYTHING ELSE hits the bone. It appears to tell the truth---even if it does not actually do so---about an aspect of sexual relations between young men and women.
Christina Ricci plays a sexually and emotionally unavailable young actress. Jason Biggs (in his only good performance to date) is the younger version of Allen, a comedy writer who is subjected to the whims and charms of Ricci's character. Their relationship is a sadomasochistic one and is doomed to failure. Bigg's character is truly the victim.
The humor takes some of the edge off, casting the seriousness of the film into sharp relief; it makes the material more palatable, but this is still one bitter pill.
This film should be watched alongside THE SHAPE OF THINGS; this film, however, has the advantage of being funny.
Allen always wanted to be regarded as a serious filmmaker. If there is any justice in the world, because of ANYTHING ELSE, he will be.
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on November 2, 2003
It's funny how the one person on this page who likes this movie the least, Yog, goes on to write the logest and most detailed "review". He apparently felt the need to give us a rambling and grammatically deficient account(run-on sentences anyone?) of each character and their role as he sees them. However, the fact that Yog had such an emotional response to certain aspects of the film (i.e.: Ricci's lack of fidelity to Biggs and Allen's Jewish paranoia) seems to negate his claims of disinterest and his label of the movie as an "abortion". If, to Yog, "the most interesting character in the movie is the rifle" then we learn more about him and his failings as an audience member than we do about the movie itself.
"Anything Else" is Allen's best work since "Deconstructing Harry". Although not as good as "Deconstructing Harry", "Anything Else" does, hopefully, mark a return to form when one could go to an Allen film and rightfully expect to encounter witty dialogue and a tapestry of interesting human relationships.
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on January 7, 2004
This movie is HORRIBLE!!! The only reason I bought this movie was becuase Jason Biggs is in it. I've a lot of movies with Jason Biggs in it and none were more worse than this. I feel bad that Jason had star in such a boring movie. The movie moves incredibly slow. There's not really even a plot to this movie. If I could I wouldn't even give this movie 1 star! I'd give this movie NO STARS!!! When this movie came out, I was so excited and I thought it was going to be funny and interesting, but when I saw it, I felt the complete opposite. I'm telling you that think twice before seeing this movie, it is something absolutely NOT to be excited about. For who think different or can't really decide to buy this movie, I SUGGEST STRONGLY THAT YOU RENT IT FIRST!!!!!!!!!!! Believe me, RENT it first, I promise you won't regret it.
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on January 29, 2004
This is Woody Allen for the post-9/11 world, a world and a New York still funny and neurotic and overly preoccupied with love and death, but whose paranoia seems now more than justified.
There is much to recommend this film: the great typically Allenesque comic dialogue; the wonderful songs of Billie Holiday; the beautiful, little-heard Peggy Lee ballad given a heart-wrenching reading by Stockard Channing (part of a fine, quirky performance); Danny DeVito's over-the-top scene in the restaurant... Contrary to what you may have read, the leads do a fine job here, and the character played by Allen himself is at once hilarious and disturbing and most fun to watch and listen to. His scenes with Jason Biggs, many showing off the beauty of Central Park in summer, by themselves are worth the price of admission.
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on October 19, 2003
The reviews I've read on line re Allen and elsewhere (one radio review thought it would be funnier to call him 'the king of thirty box office flops') have been so obviously bias against Allen as a target to point of being a personal attack. I think this movie succeed for its loose and natural dialogue alone. As recent Allen movies go it is fresh besides being witty. Admittedly, Allen as a whole does not have mass or sex appeal. BUT that is to his great credit. I would go so far as to say, after seeing (and owning) around fifteen of his films that Woody Allen is America's greatest living INTELLIGENT CLASSY film makers. He has grown. He has deepened. But one would never know any of this by the vicious attacks called "reviews." On this bases, I would give him the purble heart for kicking against the pricks.
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on January 8, 2004
This is not one of Woody Allen's best films but he has never made a bad one as far as I am concerned. This is an entertaining film for the true fan. The only real problem with the film is Allen's casting of Jason Biggs in the lead role. He is a terrible actor and a poor youthful substitute to fill Allen's shoes. The saving grace of this film is Christina Ricci. She plays a thoroughly unlikeable character but she plays it with style and range. She also comes off the most attractive I have ever seen her in a film. Danny De Vito does a great job as well. Allen's scenes toward the end are particularly strong. The ending is one of Allen's best. Genuinely touching. I just think that the miscasting of Biggs in the pivotal lead role really hurts the film overall.
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on January 5, 2004
Here we have yet another offering from our number one existentialist in hollywood.
Filled with quirky and extremely irritating, (even perverse characters}, the film offers up some good laughs.
Is it as good as earlier Woody Allen films? I'll be honest, Manhatten Murder Mystery is the only other film which I have viewed but judging by the reviews I would say that it is a safe guess that this is not the case. However, this is a fresh and unique little comedy that will offer a moment of shade from the banality that seems to haunt comedies at the present.
Like the recent works of Wes Anderson, this is a comedy more in the greek sense, operating with the understanding that comedy is essentially trajedy. I loved this film.
Give it a chance.
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on December 24, 2003
This is a classic Woody Allen film in the best sense. A masterfully crafted movie that references his "earlier funny films" of the 70's. The characters talk and act like people from the 70's. Indeed the two main characters would once have been played by Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, and seem to be playing them down to their speech patterns. Woody Allen appears in the film as an enormously entertaining mentor/muse to Jason Bigg's character. Woody's eccentric intellectual neurotic seems even more unique in today's dumbed down cinematic world. Christina Ricci is great as the worlds worst girlfriend. Many truths of life are revealed humorously. Allen is at the height of his talent thus far. This film is for fans of Annie Hall and the like.
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