It's bad enough that Woody Allen is a neurotic twit, but now he's become insufferable to boot. Okay, there is something almost amusing about casting yourself in movies where you get to kiss and grope the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Goldie Hawn and Julia Roberts when you're one of the most unappealing little warthogs on the face of the Earth -- especially when your real-world chances of bedding such women rank right up there on the Vegas odds board with "Calista Flockhart finishes a whole rice cake at one sitting." However, it's downright repulsive when you're so wrapped up in your pathetic little universe that you actually hire somebody else to play you kissing and groping Charlize Theron and Winona Ryder so that you can watch.
The sick thing is that Kenneth Branagh, who plays a journalist named Lee Simon, doesn't just play Woody Allen -- he impersonates him right down to the stuttering and the nervous hand gesturing. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he slept with his own adopted stepdaughter just to nail the part. Branagh's impersonation is right on, but watching him is as pleasant as wiping your ass with 8-grit sandpaper.
In a stunning departure from Allen tradition, this story is about a self-involved New Yorker's personal and professional neuroses. Lee's ex-wife, Robin (Judy Davis), is freaking out over their divorce, but has found a nice man (Joe Mantegna). Meanwhile, the pseudo-Woody is plowing through a bevy of beauties including Famke Janssen, Charlize Theron and Winona Ryder. Given their respective ages, it's not quite pedophilia, but close enough to make Calvin Klein swell with pride.
On the professional side, Lee deals with various weasels, including a strangely doughy-looking Leonardo DiCaprio, who bravely plays an obnoxious young film star in an effort to convince us that he's not an obnoxious young film star. There's nothing insightful about these various engagements, nor is there anything very funny about them. Ultimately, "Celebrity" is just another two-hour therapy session for Woody Allen, and while such excursions may be cathartic for Uncle Woody, I, for one, am getting tired of footing the bill.
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