***Official "HOLLYWOOD ENDING" Review Thread***

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Reuben, May 2, 2002.

  1. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Woody Allen's latest film, Hollywood Ending, is a major improvement over his last effort, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. But it's still lesser Allen. It has some great slapstick moments (many of them featured in the trailer), an inspired Jekyll-and-Hyde conversation between Allen's director character and his ex-wife, played by Tea Leoni, and a very funny performance by director Mark Rydell as Allen's relentlessly upbeat agent. But the essential Woody Allen character is by now so familiar that much of its comic potential is used up. The character now works best when it's peripheral (as in Crimes and Misdemeanors) or varied in some unusual fashion (e.g., Deconstructing Harry). Hollywood Ending puts it front and center, and there's nothing we haven't seen before.
    Allen plays a formerly revered director who can no longer get work because he's both a difficult perfectionist and prone to psychosomatic illness. Leoni, his ex-wife now engaged to a studio exec (Treat Williams doing a similar turn to his portrayal of Mike Ovitz a few years back on HBO) gets him a shot at a high-profile $60-million picture, but as soon as production begins, he suffers an attack of hysterical blindness and has to fake his way through the shoot. Especially for film fans, there are enough inside references and jokes about Hollywood to keep things interesting, but the satire is fairly benign. Albert Brooks did a much more savage hatchet job on contemporary studios in The Muse and David Mamet had a funnier take on production hassles in State and Main.
    Allen once again surrounds his character with women he's far too old for. Having been divorced by Leoni, he now lives with Debra Messing, whose character is just dumb enough to think that hooking up with a has-been director is a good career move. Tiffany Thiessen is part of the fictional picture's cast, and she puts the moves on Allen because (a) that's what her character does with her directors, and (b) that's what Woody Allen does with his actresses. Isaac Mizrahi has a funny and too-brief cameo as a production designer, and the great Marian Seldes shows up for one hysterical scene as the costume designer. George Hamilton plays an empty suit, and the casting is perfect.
    The film does have a great ending, though, and it's one that truly lives up to the title. That, and enough laughs along the way, make for a pleasant afternoon or evening at the theater and a qualified recommendation.
    M.
     
  2. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I liked Hollywood Ending, but the humor at times seems strained, not to mention scenes that go on a little too long. The overall cast leaves something to be desired (more sitcom stars) than is usual for one of Woody's films, although I thought Leoni does her best work in this film. (Messing, on the other hand, seemed mostly awful to me.)

    There are enough laughs, although rarely very big ones, to make it worth seeing. And I agree, the ending is a keeper.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Hollywood Ending". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    The Official Discussion Thread for "Hollywood Ending" can be found
    here.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
     
  4. Mark Hobbs

    Mark Hobbs Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this after seeing Spider-Man, so I was on a huge high. It was slow at times, and I felt it should have been about 20 minutes shorter.

    I bought the plot, and thought it was really well done. If there were a few more really great laughs, this would be a great Woody Allen film. As it stands, it is merely a good Woody Allen film.

    I'm giving this one a 6/10, but the fantastic ending almost makes it a 7.
     

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