Friday, July 29, 2005

Melinda and Melinda

I actually saw this film a couple of weeks ago in the Taliesen Arts Centre, I had read a few fairly negative reviews which claimed the film was mediocre proof that Woody Allen was no longer capable to produce a witty screenplay with snappy dialogue in a similar vein to Crimes and Misdemeanors or Bananas.
This criticism is perhaps justified to an extent but Melinda and Melinda was always doomed to seem second rate because Woody isn't actually in the film, Will Ferrell is however fairly convincing as a surrogate Woody/Chevvy Chase type. I read on IMDb that Winona was originally cast for the title role and Robert Downey Jnr. was offered a part too (as Sveigny's husband, the profligate school teacher?) but they were both too expensive anyway.
The protagonist's life story is played in two different scenarios. Melinda is
either a 'tragic' paranoid, neurotic wino or 'comic' ie. a bubbly, romantic and vapid ditz.
Neither version of Melinda is particularly sympathetic but 'comic' Melinda is marginally less irritating than the former and has much better hair. Radha probably does well with the script but the characters overlap a bit too much for the film's central tenet of a divided personality to be fully convincing. This may be intentional as the film's underlying message seems to be that lfe is either comic or tragic depending
upon individual interpretation of life events.
The glass is either half full or half empty.
Sveigny basically carried the movie in her role as a wronged housewife and Park Avenue princess. I do have a soft spot for her anyway because she's so interesting to watch
and is also the only woman to make me want to bleach my hair and dress solely in varying shades of pastel and beige.

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