Friday, August 7, 2009

Hollywood Ending. B


The title for this witty Woody Allen picture is hardly deceiving, whether it's referring to the actual movie or the movie that is being made that makes up the plot. Woody Allen is one of the great directors of the past twenty-five years. He's also one of the greatest comic figures we've known. Of course Allen, through the comedy, is no stranger to preying in on deep themes of human passion. However, that's not the case with 'Hollywood Ending,' a film that relies purely on comedy and nothing else to make its engine run. Allen, who of course writes and directs as well, plays Val Waxman, a fading and aging director who has fallen into maximum low point of his line of work: directing cheap television ads. However, when the opportunity arises for him to helm a Hollywood motion picture, he gladly accepts, as he intends to get his career back on track. Through all of this, we get constant samples of Allen's comic genius. The movie becomes more slapstick (also even funnier-thanks to Allen) when Waxman suddenly goes blind. Not wanting to waste this career opportunity, Waxman, with the help of his agent (the only one who knows he has gone blind), attempts to continue with the movie without anyone finding out about his disability. This of course sets of some great moments of hilarity, and luckily the movie does not disappoint with that. There was one scene where I was rolling over with laughter, and by the end I simply felt good. Of course, the movie wouldn't have worked without Allen as the star. He and Clint Eastwood, two of the great American filmmakers, are rare in that they both star in a vast number of the films they direct. On the downside of 'Hollywood Ending,' this is not a deep story in the least. Allen doesn't tackle any major philosophical ideas about life. He's more taking a break from that and just focusing on the humor, which, in all that Allen has tried to say with his long array of films, might be a good thing. Perhaps 'Hollywood Ending' takes too long to get to that moment. It's nearly two hours, which is lengthy for a film this shallow. But the clever premise simply won me over. I loved the comedy in this movie.

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