Anything Else (USA/France/Netherlands/UK; 108 min.)


directed by: Woody Allen
starring: Jason Biggs; Christina Ricci; Woody Allen
Anything Else
 
Howard says: "Near the end of ANYTHING ELSE, Woody Allen's character tells his comedy writing partner, played by Jason Biggs, if he has to steal material, make sure he steals from the best. Allen has taken this to heart as he has basically rewritten Jane Austin's Emma. Not only has he given himself the role of Emma, but also given himself the best and funniest lines and made himself the least annoying character in the entire
film.

"There are some of the best one liners Allen has come up with in years here and he even gives a couple to Christina Ricci, but the characters are so contemptuous and obtuse that you want to throttle them all. This is probably Allen's plan so not only do you want to root for his newly discovered comedy writing partner, Jerry Falk (Biggs), to get out of every relationship he's in, but you are begging to have Allen back on the scene for a couple more laughs.

"Purposely done? Probably; however, Allen is the master of the neurotic and he knows
how to get under the skin of one especially Falk's girlfriend, Amanda (Ricci). Of course, Ricci knows how to play a sociopath. Just look at THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. But even this can't make anything else of ANYTHING ELSE except an uncomfortable character study with a few good laughs." 2 1/2 cats

 
Bruce says: "'Easy to Love,' 'The Way You Look Tonight,' and 'It Could Happen to You' are magnificent songs. On the soundtrack of ANYTHING ELSE they seem hollow and, at times, amazingly perverse. This film, marketed without mention that it is a Woody Allen film (now that should be warning enough to stay away), is truly Allen at his worst.

"Jerry Faulk (Jason Biggs) is a 21 year old divorced comedy writer who is no living with his new girlfriend Amanda (Christina Ricci). One Jerry meets David Dobel in Central Park. Dobel takes Jerry under his wing and offers advice while making pathetic jokes. Jerry’s life becomes drearier and drearier as Amanda decides they should not have sex for six months, Amanda’s mother Paula (Stockard Channing) moves in with Jerry and Amanda, and Jerry’s agent is doing little in his behalf.

"By now those who follow Woody Allen’s career have come to expect that other actors have taken his voice, e.g., John Cusack in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY or Kenneth Branagh in CELEBRITY. Woody embodies his self absorbed persona in his characters – usually male – who treat their relationships as place markers until something better comes along. In ANYTHING ELSE not only does Woody have his own presence but his voice is heard through Jason Biggs, Christina Ricci, Danny DeVito and Stockard Channing. Here even the female characters sound like Woody as they rationalize their selfish, cruel behavior.

"Allen is getting sloppy in other respects as well. Some of his shots are poorly set up and his angles, all wrong. For any film student who feels as much can be learned from a truly wretched film as a cinematic masterpiece, this film is a must. 1 cat