Tuesday 2 November 2004

Melinda and Melinda (2004) - ickleReview (cinema - London Film Festival)

A Woody Allen movie that combines comedy and tragedy in one (hence the double-barrelled title). Former Neighbours soap actress Radha Mitchell plays both Melindas in a cast that is otherwise doubled - one actor tragic, one comic - as two writers debate the true nature of life in Allen's pseudo-intellectual, New York dinner conversation manner. Will Ferrell plays the classic comic Allen lead, bringing his own inimitable style along with some brilliant Woody impressions.

The polar plots develop as two writers sketch out their opposing views by taking the same basic story and making it either tragic or comic. Melinda is a fuckup friend who walks in on a dinner party when her life is falling apart. Her Park Avenue princess friends hook her up with a guy and things - as they tend to do in Allen's worldview - get messy. The plots begin to converge at the end, demonstrating that when tragedy is taken to an extreme, it can seem comic.

Nugget: Allen admits that he just can't do Bergman by letting the laughs seep into the tragic plot by juxtaposition.

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