Monday, 3 August 2009


“The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.” - H.L. Mencken

We watched the 2004 Woody Allen film “Melinda & Melinda” at the weekend. Woody Allen has made some very good films in the past and some of them are quite memorable and witty. This particular film was an experiment and its thesis was whether life was quintessentially a tragedy or a comedy. Four friends at a restaurant discuss this and the two most vocal of them are directors, one specialising in comedy the other in tragedy. When a simple situation is given to them by one of the other people at the restaurant, they both argue their case that this situation is either tragedic or comedic. The simple situation involves Melinda, a young woman who gate crashes a dinner party in New York.

The film is essentially two stories involving Melinda 1 and Melinda 2 (both played by Radha Mitchell). One of them is a comedy (supposedly) and the other being a tragedy (ostensibly). It is not unlike the 1991 film “He Said, She Said” in some ways, but the supporting cast around Melinda are different (makes sense and helps differentiate the stories, even for dummies). The result is stilted, boring, pretentious, self-conscious drivel. The characters are unappealing and even Will Ferrell (“being” Woody Allen in one of the stories) cannot save the film. I was really turned off by the plot, the uninspired direction, the thin story line and the lack of differentiation between tragedy and comedy. The whole film was (if can compare it to food) like undressed, overcooked, boiled cabbage – not fresh.

I think Allen was trying to recreate what he did with his 1989 film “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. However, whereas the earlier film is vintage Woody Allen and is tragicomic in the best sense of the word, the two Melindas flop. The people depicted in it were unappealing, degenerate, self-centred twerps that I would not give the time of day to. Even some of the pathetic ones amongst them were not pitiable, but rather irritating. Maybe my expectations were high, being a Woody Allen film, but this was Tripe with a capital T. Who cared what happened to these people and when things went wrong for them, there was no empathy or sympathy. It was a grossly disappointing movie.

Am I too scathing with my criticism, do you think? I think not. I am getting to that stage of my life where my time is becoming increasingly precious. I will not abide having my time wasted by self-indulgent twaddle that is being created by a writer-director whose use by date is well and truly over. See this film at your peril.

Dangerous Meredith has also blogged about movies, so hop along to her blog for some more reviews.


  1. I have watched this movie and I liked it Nicholas. maybe you were in a bad mood when you watched it!!!!

  2. I share your views about this film, Nic. It was absolute c**p!