Friday 4 April 2008

Alice (1990) - ickleReview (DVD)

An on-the-whole serious Woody Allen film starring Mia Farrow as Alice, the wife of a rich New Yorker (William Hurt). Her life is luxurious and comfortable. She has servants, a maid to look after her two young children, never has to worry about money, goes shopping on Madison Avenue whenever she likes, and has a personal trainer to keep her fit. However, one day she meets a striking dark-haired man (Joe Mantegna) when picking the kids up from school and can't stop fantasizing about him. She visits Dr Yang, a China Town acupuncturist, to treat her back pain, but he hypnotizes her and she begins to talk about her feelings for Joe, this strange dark-haired man. Over a number of visits, Dr Yang gives her his infamous herbs, which in turn act as an aphrodisiac, make her invisible, summon ghosts from her past (Alec Baldwin plays the ghost of a former boyfriend, Ed), and cause men to fall in love with her.

On the surface, there's the same old Woody Allen plot line of extra-marital affairs, a sister who has taken a different course in life (Blythe Danner), someone who wants to become a writer, and so on. There is a brilliant short comic appearance by Bernadette Peters as Alice's Muse, who even has a pair of trademark Woody Allen thick plastic black-rimmed glasses.

Nugget: a good example of Allen's ability to make semi-serious films, even if some of the plot mechanics (Dr Yang's herbs) are a little bit of movie magic. Features a cameo by Elle Macpherson as a shopper in the Madison Avenue Ralph Lauren store.

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