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Click for full sized poster

Anything Else

Starring Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci; Stockard Channing Danny DeVito and Jimmy Fallon
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
website: www.anythingelse-themovie.com

IN SHORT: Look closely -- it's a Woody Allen film. [Rated R for a scene of drug use and some sexual references. 108 minutes]

A couple of dozen movies into his career, Woody Allen steps to the side and takes a supporting role in Anything Else, a film which features some of his funniest and most sophisticated humor ever. Not surprisingly it is a tale of love at first sight but not one in which established relationships get in the way.

To be honest, Allen's stock 'horny neurotic nebbish' character started to wear thin as quickly as his hair has done the same. Stepping out of the center spotlight allows Allen, the writer and director, to spread his comedic gift among the next generation. Jason Biggs steps into the nebbish role with aplomb and Christina Ricci is equally neurotic in Anything Else, Allen's most intelligent and most New York oriented film in a long time. (Yes, we know all of his movies are New York oriented. This one requires that you know the contents of a local freebie newspaper to get some of the jokes. That paper is the formerly august Village Voice and its back pages hold ads for all sorts of unsavory and illegal activities and products. Ponder that for a while and you'll be prepared).

The couple in the spotlight is up and coming writer Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs) and a free spirited chain smoker named Amanda (Christina Ricci). They will be joined her mom Paula Chase (Stockard Channing) who, seeking a return to the cabaret stage, moves in and brings a piano with her. That's three people and an upright in a studio apartment. Not an average load for living space in Manhattan. Jerry narrates the events of his life directly to the camera and right back at his shrink (William Hill). These doings also include the working relationship with incompetent manager Harvey (Danny DeVito) and a new writing partner, David Dobel (Woody Allen).

A story of how love at first sight can go terribly awry, Anything Else also investigates the non-romantic pairing of the two writers. Dobel writes gags and rants and raves about relationships and anti-Semites. Psychotic, paranoid, obsessed with the Holocaust, he is a perfect balance and spiritual advisor to the much younger Falk, who is set in ways that can best be described as obsessively nihilistic. Jerry dreams of writing the great novel - about Death, of course - and Dobel mentors his young Jedi in the ways of the world and the ways of the flesh as the younger man's relationship with Amanda goes haywire.

More to the point, is it funny? Yes but especially with Ricci's twist on how to be neurotic. It's a "normal" character type, one you probably know in your own life, pushed to extremes. Failing all that, Ricci parades around in her underwear so, at least, someone is going to get something out of their ticket dollar <g>.

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

$5.00

We admit it was a bit strange, at first, seeing the usual Woody Allen stuff split between two characters. We got over it quickly and enjoyed Anything Else.Take a date

amazon com link Click to buy films by Woody Allen
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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.