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Hollywood Ending

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Hollywood Ending

from Film Forum, 05/09/02

Woody Allen tends to release a movie every year, and this year's model is called Hollywood Ending. Allen plays a neurotic (what a surprise!) film director who loses his sight just as he begins directing a film, causing havoc on and off the set, especially in his complicated love life. The much-much-younger women dallying with Allen this time are Téa Leoni (Jurassic Park 3) and Debra Messing (TV's Will and Grace).

The review from the USCCB says the film "starts off promisingly, and even ends on a pretty funny joke made at the expense of French movie audiences. But the central conceit of the film … wears thin all too soon. It turns the bulk of the movie into a flat, overlong jumble dotted with occasionally humorous moments." The reviewer adds, "Allen's penchant for casting himself in May-December romances in his films … becomes increasingly difficult to believe, especially when the grayer, wrinkled Allen is hooking up with women 30 years his junior."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says the film offers "frivolous fun." And he adds, "There is a lesson buried within the slapstick. The Bible also speaks of blindness: spiritual blindness. This is an inability to see or understand spiritual truths and realities, even though the individual may be perfectly functional in all other aspects of life."

But Phil Boatwright isn't impressed. "You know the problem with this movie? Blindness just ain't funny! After a few pratfalls due to the sudden psychosomatic sightlessness, the film falls flat."

"Watching a young Allen wring his hands and go on and on about nothing used to be entertaining and funny," says Holly McClure (Crosswalk), "but now he just looks tired, annoyed and, quite honestly, a little confused. Allen has made some strong contributions as a filmmaker, but I was hoping for more from Hollywood Ending. Leaving the theater, I felt a little cheated."

Steven Isaac (Focus on the Family) writes, "Allen has shown himself to be unafraid of skewering Hollywood where it needs to be skewered. His critiques of Tinseltown are gratifyingly sharp and witty. It's a shame that overactive libidos and blasphemous uses of God's name spoil the show." Paul Bicking (Preview) echoes the complaint, adding that the movie "offers too many mis-guided messages about sexual relations."