Anything Else (2003)

DVD Cover (DreamWorks)
Woody Allen Woody Allen
Woody Allen Woody Allen
Jason Biggs Jason Biggs
Fisher Stevens Fisher Stevens
Anthony Arkin Anthony Arkin
Danny DeVito Danny DeVito

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy, Urban Comedy
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Review by Crispy
Added: June 24, 2010
I've never seen much of Woody Allen, but he seems to have one of those love-him-or-hate-him reputations. Anything Else, which he wrote, directed and starred in, was my first true introduction to his work, and while one movie is certainly not enough to judge his career, I'm certainly not in a hurry to hunt down anything else he did.

I'd love to start off with a plot synopsis, but Anything Else didn't really have a plot. In its place, we're shown aspiring comedic writer Jerry Falks' troubles with his unstable girlfriend, Amanda, his useless manager, Harvey, and even more useless shrink, interspersed with conversations with another writer named Dobel. The result is a hundred and ten minutes with no direction and absolutely no entertainment value. Oh, sure, by the end of the movie, and I'll pause here to give the spoiler conscious readers a chance to skip ahead, there's the inevitable revelation where Falk sheds all these albatrosses and sets off on a new life with a clean slate, but most viewers will have said "screw it" and changed the channel long before they get to this point.

Another thing that killed Anything Else was its characters, especially Jerry Falk himself. Now I'm definitely not a Jason Biggs fan, but he's not the one to blame for Falk being so unlikable. The guy is a nervous wreck, and spends the entire movie stuttering and getting talked over. For example, the entire flashback sequence where Falk meets Amanda is literally ten minutes of her claiming she likes whatever singer or author, and he just stammers her exact words back at her in agreement. We're supposed to give a damn about this guy? I understand there's some market for this kind of shy, unconfident character; hell that's the only reason Michael Cera even has a career, but this is just too far off the grid. Likewise, his manager (Danny Devito) is a lazy leech of a man, and Amanda (Christina Ricci) is a mentally off-balanced, sexually confused nutcase. Then add in Woody Allen as Dobel playing the same neurotic Jew he's been playing his entire career, and you come to realize that you've got no likable characters in a movie that doesn't have a plotline. The question must be asked: at what point did Allen, or anyone else for that matter, think this was a successful film to release to the masses?

Anything Else is a long, boring, drawn out affair, and not even Christina Ricci and Danny Devito can save it. One thing I will give Allen, it's an ingenious title, as I'm sure the countless recommendations that viewers "should watch anything else" have often been misinterpreted. 1/10
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