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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Woody Allen
Miramax 08/99 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - language, sex, some drug use
In Woody Allen's latest drama, Kenneth Branagh plays Lee Simon, a feature and travel writer whose divorce from Robin (Judy Davis), a schoolteacher, after 16 years of marriage, sets him on a self-destructive course of sexual experimentation. He receives a delightful surprise from Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith), a famous actress, and bumbles his way through a brief but thrilling encounter with a supermodel (Charlize Theron), who throws herself at him. While working on a novel, Lee dumps her for Nola (Winona Ryder), a self-centered actress who keeps him in a constant state of jealousy.
Meanwhile, the repressed and nervously neurotic Robin is taken under the wings of Tony Gardella (Joe Mantegna), a TV producer who not only gives her a job but falls madly in love with her. So accustomed to suffering, she doesn't know how to respond to her good fortune.
Although there are many irritations in this drama (not the least of which is Kenneth Branagh's impersonation of Woody Allen's flustered screen persona), it does offer an on-target criticism of the excesses of the media and the over-emphasis upon celebrities in our culture. One of the best bits features Leonardo DiCaprio as a spoiled superstar whose greed is as deep as his self-absorption.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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