As Woody Allen gets older, watching his movies is like watching a guy in a wheelchair roll down a steep hill toward a busy intersection. "Hollywood Ending" may not be the ultimate crash, but it's pretty close.
Allen, again mixing reality and fantasy in order to claim that his story is still "just a story" while getting to kiss and touch women half his age, tells the tale of director Val Waxman (Allen), a down-and-out, former Oscar-winning director who gets his last chance to make a big film. Unfortunately, that film comes about at the urging of his ex-wife, Ellie (T�a Leoni), now a Galaxy film executive and girlfriend of the studio's chief, Hal Yeager (Treat Williams). The film's one and only joke is that when Waxman finally gets going on the film, he succumbs to psychosomatic blindness, yet continues to do the picture.
The blindness joke was funny for about five seconds. After that, I became seriously tired of watching Allen look off into the distance while somebody right in front of him was talking. Perhaps five-year-olds buy that sort of joke, but I don't. Allen has three love interests in the film: his ditsy girlfriend, Lori (Debra Messing), Ellie, and his star actress (Tiffani Thiessen), who offers to do anything for her director. While I realize a love scene involving a realistic partner for Allen -- such as Gloria Stuart or Estelle Getty -- would send audiences into stomach-turning convulsions, the tight skin/saggy skin dichotomy created in Allen's films is more than any person should have to contemplate.
It seems to me that Allen, now with funding from DreamWorks, is being allowed to make one film per year. That sort of pace requires far more creativity than this dirty old man has left to offer.
To spread the word about this Hollywood Ending review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.