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Movie Review: Melinda and Melinda

Alternate Title: Crapola and Crapola

Story: Stale and staler could have also been used as an alternate title. It is getting increasingly more difficult for us diehard Woody Allen fans to muster up the money to go to see his new films.

This latest is two versions of the same story, one told as a tragedy and one told as a comedy (with minor differences in the storyline). In true Woody Allen fashion, everyone lives in great apartments, has fabulous dinner parties and most have no visible means of support. Melinda walks into the other character's lives and all hell breaks loose. I did not care one iota what happened to any of them.

The dialogue is fake, redundant and stale. The characters are so self-absorbed that at times I actually wanted harm to come to some of them. Not a pretty picture.

Acting: Rahda Mitchell as Melinda seems like she could be interesting (but not in this film). Chiwetel Ejifor (Dirty Pretty Things) is the first black actor that I can remember (except for the hooker in Deconstructing Harry) to have a major part in a Woody Allen film. Hip, hip hooray! Will Ferrell is supposed to be the Woody Allen character. He seems stifled in the role. Chloe Sevigny and her real life husband Johnny Lee Miller were simply annoying.

Predilection: I used to like Woody Allen films a great deal and I love films set in NYC. It is fun to try to figure out where they are shooting the scenes.

Critters: Rarely a critter in a Woody Allen film.Visual Art: The fancy apartments all have great interiors complete with nice paintings, prints and sculpture.

Food: Lots of booze and some fancy schmancy dinner entrees.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple computer, The New York Times and NYC

Soundtrack: Allen's scores are always a treat to the ear.

Opening Titles: His usual signature black background with white type.

Theater Audience: Five other fading Woody Allen fans and me.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: How I longed for something quirky to occur instead of the same old, same old stuff.

Squirm Scale: I squirmed because I never thought this dismal film would end.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I only cried for his movies of yore.

Oscar Worthy: A big NO!

Nit Picking: It is impossible for people in Manhattan to be able to drive and be able to park right in front of their buildings every time they use their cars.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. But how about some of Woody Allen's other films (some better than others): Anything Else, Hollywood Ending, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, Sweet and Lowdown, Celebrity, Deconstructing Harry, Everyone Says I Love You, Mighty Aphrodite, Don't Drink the Water, Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Husbands and Wives, Shadows and Fog, Alice, Crimes and Misdemeanors, New York Stories, Another Woman, September, Radio Days, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Zelig, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Stardust Memories, Manhattan, Interiors, Annie Hall, Love and Death, Sleeper, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Play It Again, Sam, ...,Bananas, Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You, Don't Drink the Water, Take the Money and Run, Casino Royale, What's Up, Tiger Lily?, (1966) and What's New, Pussycat.

Length: Long at 95 minutes.