Melinda and Melinda

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Wallace Shawn as Sy
Neil Pepe as Al
Stephanie Roth Haberle as Louise
Larry Pine as Max
Radha Mitchell as Melinda
Jonny Lee Miller as Lee
Chloë Sevigny as Laurel
Matt Servitto as Jack
Arija Bareikis as Sally
Brooke Smith as Cassie
Zak Orth as Peter
Will Ferrell as Hobie
Andy Borowitz as Doug
Amanda Peet as Susan
Shalom Harlow as Joan
David Aaron Baker as Steve
Christina Kirk as Jennifer
Steve Carell as Walt
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ellis
Josh Brolin as Greg

Special Features:
None

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Mono Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 99 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“‘You’ll laugh till it hurts’ (Rolling Stone) watching comedy superstar Will Ferrell lead a talented ensemble cast in this innovative and seriously funny film. Legendary writer/director Woody Allen tells a woman’s story twice – once as a comedy, once as a drama. When emotionally desperate Melinda (Radha Mitchell) crashes a Manhattan dinner party, the chaos that ensues leads to romantic temptations and unexpected love affairs. Ferrell delivers a laugh-out-loud performance as a neurotic, out-of-work actor who falls for Melinda’s quirky charms.”

“Melinda and Melinda” is rated PG-13 for adult situations involving sexuality, and some substance material

The Movie:
There are two kinds of people in this world – those that like Woody Allen movies and those that don’t. I personally don’t. I fully realize Woody Allen is regarded as a genius in the film community, but I’ve never seen it. The plots of his movies bore me, the comedy is rarely funny, and I frankly don’t see why every actor in the world seems to want to work with him. About the only Woody Allen movie that I’ve come close to even enjoying was “Bullets Over Broadway” and Allen wasn’t in it. “Melinda and Melinda” contains many of the same features as other Woody Allen movies – existential dialogue, neurotic characters, and New York high society. Because it was so like his other films, it was pretty much a certainty that I wouldn’t enjoy it.

“Melinda and Melinda” is two films in one. It features two storytellers relating the same story with drastically different tones. One storyline features a character named Melinda in a drama. The other features Melinda in a romantic comedy. As the movie progresses, the story alternates between the two tales. Unfortunately the drama is incredibly boring and I found myself counting the minutes until it switched back to the comedy. And the only thing that made the comedy interesting was Will Ferrell. His funny lines, likable character, and lovesick persona make him about the only reason to watch this movie.

Despite my distaste for the overall film, I do recognize a few high points. Radha Mitchell is very good as Melinda from both tales. Whether a drunk with psychological issues or the romantic love interest for Ferrell, she was equally convincing. Some of the supporting roles are also well played by Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Josh Brolin. (Unfortunately a cameo by Steve Carell is totally wasted.) There are also a few really funny scenes where Ferrell picks on Josh Brolin’s affinity for big game hunting as he courts Melinda. Another scene where he attempts to spy on Melinda and her new boyfriend and gets his robe caught in a door is amusing.

The Extras:
There are no bonus features included on this DVD.

The Bottom Line:
I would only recommend “Melinda and Melinda” to established Woody Allen fans, fans of Radha Mitchell, and fans of Will Ferrell that are willing to see him in a less goofy role. Everyone else will probably be bored to tears.

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