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Play it Again, Sam

29 Jul

Allan Felix (played by Woody Allen) is a shy, neurotic New York film critic who just can’t find his ideal woman – in fact he has trouble just maintaining a relationship with a woman. His favourite movie of all time is 1942’s “Casablanca” and we meet Allan, totally entranced at a screening of this classic movie. Allan’s wife of two years, Nancy (by Susan Anspach) leaves him because she’s “sick of being married” and Allan is in emotional turmoil. He refers to his favourite movie idol Humphrey Bogart (by Jerry Lacy) for advice about how to meet the right woman, treat her right and keep her. Bogart has a habit of “dropping in” on Allan to give him pointers about his behaviour when he needs it. Allan’s good friends are workaholic Dick Christie (by Tony Roberts) and his kindly anxious wife Linda (by Diane Keaton). They try vainly to fix Allan up with a series of women, but each results in a disastrous situation because Allan is so nervous and awkward around them. Then Allan realizes he has a great relationship with Linda and he is becoming attracted to her – she, too, struggles with her constant neuroses and she seems to be the only woman Allan really feels comfortable around. They are both surprised to find the other is attracted to them, but will Linda become the love of Allan’s life?  Can they both put their anxieties and previous relationship issues behind them to make a go of this? …

This movie is a bit unusual in that it’s one where Woody Allen appears, but doesn’t direct. I know it’s a classic, but to me it runs quite hot and cold. The witty dialogue is the hot part, as with many movies featuring Woody Allen, the scenes with great dialogue are treasures – but the slapstick nature of the physical comedy leaves me cold – there are only so many times you can find knocking things over, bumping into people and blurting out the wrong thing as funny. But the witty parts are good and the “workaholism” of Dick is repetitive and funny.  I find the chemistry and balance between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton is great and works very well, but I always find the fact that a woman can find Woody Allen sexy and irresistible quite implausible. But perhaps that’s just me. The way Allan imagines potential scenario’s in his life is very well done and when Bogart and Nancy both regularly appear to him (but nobody else) this is excellent and particularly entertaining.  The movie does have its great moments.

It is an adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1969 hit Broadway play of the same name.

Made in 1972. Directed by Herbert Ross

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Movies

 

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