I went to see “Anything Else” because I heard an intriguing rumor that Woody Allen had cut all of his own scenes out of the movie. It turns out that not only was he in most of it, there were two of him.
“Anything Else” stars Woody Allen as schoolteacher and part time comedy writer “David Dobel” who, despite participating in two of the lowest paying jobs in the U. S. , can afford a vintage Jaguar. He befriends Jason Biggs as “Jerry Falk”, a full-time comedy writer who would really rather be writing depressing novels about the pointlessness of existence.
Let’s just take a second to look at this “Jerry Falk” character. Somehow by his early twenties he’s already divorced, in therapy, and has become a whiny babbling intellectual with a well-paying writing career. Basically, he’s Woody Allen, just younger. Oh good, another Woody Allen! Sarcasm!
We’re clubbed over the head with how “urban” and “contemporary” this “comedy” is. They walk the streets of New York or eat in fancy restaurants for most of the film. They name-drop as many writers as possible. (Oh yeah, I’ve read that!) They over-use their thesauruses. They mock the idea of owning a survival kit. They hunt down hard to find records and memorabilia. They’re all either actors or writers or singers. They listen to jazz. They’re all fake.
The “comedy” part comes in a few clever lines that I couldn’t remember if my life depended on it. That speaks to the quality of the jokes folks, not my encroaching senility.
You might be noticing by now that all I’ve really said about the plot is that Allen befriends Biggs. That’s because, frankly, that’s all there is. Sure, there’s the awkward romance between Biggs and Christina Ricci (the only person in the movie who puts some effort into the performance). Still, it doesn’t really go anywhere. He’s nuts, she’s more nuts, they torture themselves and each other alternately, and nobody’s really happy. It would be funny, but there’s no hook or plot twist keeping them together, so instead it’s just sad and tedious. That’s the plot.
A five minute story stretched itself out over almost two hours and bored us to tears. It was painful. Sure, “Gigli” was bad, but at least it was ignorable. “Anything Else” practically DARES you to keep watching as it’s moronic pseudo-intellectual neurotics tool around town doing little of significance except irritate the hell out of you.
There were maybe twelve people in the theater, and half of them left. The rest made conversation amongst themselves. Of course, I couldn’t because I had to review the thing. I hate you Woody Allen!
I’m only giving “Anything Else” a 0 of 5 Whuffies because I promised myself I wouldn’t use negatives in my ratings a long time ago. Don’t see it on a bet.
Anything Else – 108 Minutes, or “103 minutes too long”
Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Jason Biggs, Stockard Channing, Danny DeVito, Christina Ricci, and apparently a complete hatred for the viewing public.
About The Author
Caleb Booker is a columnist for SooToday.com and editor at ComingUpNext.com .