July 23, 2002

This was the least offensive Woody Allen film that I’ve seen to date. Understand that I try to keep my Woody Allen viewing to a minimum – I’ve probably only seen a handful of his films. When I was little, I’m talking eleven and younger, I used to derive all kinds of entertainment from Allen’s films. I’d probably seen Bananas a dozen times before the age of ten. But somewhere around puberty, probably around the time that I transitioned from Barbies to bras and from Kirk Cameron to Axl Rose, I totally lost interest in Woody Allen.

Having taken primarily film classes in college, somehow, the subject of Woody Allen was never really broached. (I did see The Purple Rose of Cairo, but it was for a class on Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature.) I’m pretty sure it was just because Cornelius hated him, not because Allen didn’t have any place in film history. It stands to reason that a man who has churned out a film almost every year for the last 30 years must have had some effect on the medium. And I’m pretty sure that effect was neurotic in nature.

Sean Penn was very entertaining as the legendary Jazz Guitarist Emmett Ray, although only slightly less retarded than in I Am Sam. A loud, obnoxious drunk, Emmett Ray is only pathologically afraid of one thing, Django Reinhardt, the best Jazz Guitarist in the world. See, Emmett Ray is only the second best, as he is quick to tell anyone who asks…or doesn’t ask.

Samantha Morton is amazing as the mute Hattie, a role that I can only imagine would have gone to Mia Farrow, had Woody not married their adopted daughter. Hattie had the curly blond hair, the too thin to be human physique and the blank soul-less stare that Farrow had perfected. Of course, as a mute, she could not exhibit Farrow’s cracking whine, which is all for the better.

Uma Thurman’s character seemed to be utterly out of place in this film. It was as if she was replaying Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction – the same sideways glance, the same too-cool-for-school attitude. I was thoroughly disappointed with her performance.

The only reason that I decided to suffer through watching this film was the fact the John Waters was listed as starring in it. Fuck those Satellite TV descriptions! John Waters had a 45 second cameo and he was billed as a star? Well, the cameo happened over halfway through the film and by that point, I was enjoying myself barely enough to not get up and go in the other room.


Year – 1999
Rating – PG-13
Runtime – 95 minutes
Genre – Woody Allen
Director(s) – Woody Allen
Writer(s) – Woody Allen
Actor(s) – Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman, Gretchen Mol, John Waters
BOB Rating – Three BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Wanna go to the dump and shoot some rats?" - Emmett Ray (Sean Penn)