(Air Date: Week Of 01/15/97)
Let's talk food -- here's the gastronomical guide to Woody Allen. Those early funny movies, like Take the Money and Run and Bananas, are neon candy store treats; Annie Hall would be that Five-Star, once in a lifetime dinner; Manhattan is Sunday morning brunch in the City; the quirky Stardust Memories, a film I watch at least once a year, is midnight room service; Interiors is a New England boiled dinner; Crimes and Misdemeanors, a study in ethics, is crunchy, nutritious granola; Alice is a sedate Afternoon Tea, Hannah and Her Sisters would be Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings; Woody's sadly neglected masterpiece Husbands and Wives is cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Everyone Says I Love You, Woody Allen's latest, may not be his greatest, but it's the one most guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth -- call it a dessert tray in some extravagant French restaurant, with delectable visions of whipped cream and shaved chocolate and marzipan and raspberries and puff pastry.
At the center of Everyone Says I Love You is a family living in rich and worldly Manhattan splendor, parented by the Woody character's ex-wife, played by Goldie Hawn, and her second husband, played by Alan Alda. There's a tribe of teenaged siblings, featuring femme fatale Drew Barrymore, and a clever sub-plot involving how the family's Kennedy-esque liberal ways backfire. All the characters flit between New York and the terminally romantic towns of Paris and Venice, and love blooms and dies. Catch Woody in Venice, jogging after his requisite neurotic love interest, played by Julia Roberts.
And, yep, Everyone Says I Love You is a musical, but what's so surprising? Woody Allen always showcases luscious jazz standards in his films, and in Everyone Says I Love You, the music turns into bona fide song and dance numbers. Sometimes the tone is almost straightforward, like when John Cusacks is buying his girl a fancy engagement ring, and suddenly he and the salesmen are dancin' and singin' all over the store, and, time warp, you think it's Busby Berkeley's For Me and My Gal. But how could Woody Allen resist parodying the genre at least some of the time? I laughed out loud when Woody himself, brooding in his Paris hotel room, croons "I'm through with love, I'll never love again." Bing Crosby he's not, and we know he knows it, but, if you love Woody Allen, this is the sort of self-parody you adore. The to-die-for climax is a nocturnal song and dance by the Seine River performed by Woody and Goldie Hawn, and any levity in this scene translates into pure poetry.
So Everyone Says I Love You is a musical without a serious note, and a meal without a nutritious bite, but who cares when the sweets are this yummy?
Copyright 1997 Mary Weems
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