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Melinda And Melinda
15 Melinda And Melinda (2005)

updated 23 March 2005
reviewer's rating
2 out of 5
Reviewed by Stella Papamichael
average user rating
3 Star


Director
Woody Allen
Writer
Woody Allen
Stars
Will Ferrell
Radha Mitchell
Chloë Sevigny
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Amanda Peet
Jonny Lee Miller
Length
99 minutes
Distributor
20th Century Fox
Cinema
25 March 2005
Country
USA
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Web Links
Official site


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Average star rating: 3 from 294 votes

Two stories rolled into one produce a film that's only half decent for writer/director Woody Allen. Not since Sweet And Lowdown (1999) has he produced anything worthy of his prowess but Melinda And Melinda is an improvement on recent ramshackle efforts like Anything Else. Radha Mitchell stars in concurrent romance plots, which are almost identical except that one is comic and the other tragic. Unfortunately Allen's film manages to be neither.

Allen frames both storylines inside a conversation about comedy versus tragedy in relating a truthful depiction of life. Mitchell illustrates each side of the argument as Melinda, a neurotic New Yorker who disrupts the lives of a) Will Ferrell and Amanda Peet as a seemingly happy couple, b) Chloë Sevigny and Jonny Lee Miller as a couple so miserable they can't even pretend to be happy.

"RIDICULOUSLY CONTRIVED"

It's a great showcase for Mitchell who one minute exudes the desperation of a woman suffocating in her own skin and the next is batting one-liners with Ferrell. Still it's impossible to empathise because the circumstances are so ridiculously contrived. As the tragic heroine Melinda eventually becomes insufferable; the picture of upper-class angst soaked in tears and champagne.

Ferrell is welcome relief playing an actor insecure in his manhood. Not only is he funny, but you know exactly where he's coming from when he asks his deer-hunting love rival, "Did you shoot the furniture we're sitting on?" Ultimately though, Allen fails to answer the question he poses. Like wearing two roller-skates headed in opposite directions the conclusion is obvious. Whether that's funny or sad depends on you.

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