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download hollywood eneding poster
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Hollywood Ending

Starring George Hamilton, Téa Leoni, Debra Messing, Mark Rydell, Tiffani Thiessen, Treat Williams
Written and Directed by Woody Allen

IN SHORT: Some of Woody's funniest writing in years. [Rated PG-13 for some drug references and sexual material. 110 minutes]

If you're cinema savvy enough to understand the following, said by a down on his luck film director to his agent: "A tenth of a point after quadruple break even? You're a shark, Al" then you'll be set (for at least the first hour of) Woody Allen's funniest writing in years. Once he exhausts you in the first hour, Allen shifts into the realm of politically incorrect humor, and doesn't go far enough with it. The pause lets Allen regroup for Act Three. Even so, we were aware of the gap.

Yeah, we've said it before and we've meant it before. We like Woody Allen and we're more than happy to sit for even an average movie. Hollywood Ending, which does offer up a traditional Hollywood ending as promised, is far beyond average Allen. Do we appreciate it because we get all the film biz in jokes that are stuffed into the first Act? You bet. Are you going to get the jokes as we did? If you give more than a passing glance to E.T. or any of the other "entertainment industry as a way of life" teevee shows or print magazines you're in like flynn.

Sorry, we have no idea what that means.

Val, Allen's character this time out, sports the usual neurotic New Yorker maladies that we've come to associate with Woody: black plague, an allergy to oxygen, elm blight .... and so on. A former film director who has hit hard times, the man is filming television commercials when he gets a call from his ex, actress Ellie (Téa Leoni). Ellie has, for reasons unbeknownst to everyone, has mandated that Val helm her next movie. Luckily, she's sleeping with the head of the movie studio (Treat Williams) and gets her way. Val, so overwhelmed and grateful for this final, big break, adds hysterical blindness to his medical history. With way too much riding on the already started film, a motley group (including Deborah Messing as Val's girlfriend and Mark Rydell as his agent) conspires to hide the malady from the suits and from Andrea Ford (Jodie Markell), a cutthroat reporter from Esquire who is living on the set and wants dirt.

George Hamilton inhabits one of those suits, plays one of those suits, and delivers a performance that is as funny, if not funnier, than any he's given since he restarted his acting career doing comedy roles a lot of years back. For those males who have lost the use of their funny bone, are invited to exercise the use of a different bone as Tiffani Thiessen parades around in her underwear. The actress formerly sporting the middle name "Amber" plays the actress who wants to better know her director's, uh, vision. Yum.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hollywood Ending, he would have paid . . .


Honest to God, folks, you all know whether or not you like Woody Allen movies or not. For those of you that do we'll say it again, the first hour alone is worth the admission price. For those that don't, that first hour should make you happy enough that, even if you fidget when things slow down; if you "got" the gag repeated in the first paragraph above, you won't feel like you've wasted your cash.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.