Thursday, March 3, 2011

Manhattan Murder Mystery--a premature review

"Save a little craziness for menopause!"

This is what Woody Allen says to Diane Keaton around the 34th minute of Manhattan Murder Mystery. I'd say their characters say it, but it's hard to imagine they're playing anyone but modestly amplified versions of themselves in this one. The film also seems more improvised than Allen's others, which have more focus on the depth of character relations in ways which they intertwine with a complicated wit.

I have to admit that most of this analysis is a defensive attempt at trying to appreciate a movie that has been annoying from the get-go. I'm struggling to get through it. It's taking me back to the time when I came upon some similar later day Woody Allen movie, before I'd watched a few of the better films: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Deconstructing Harry, Hannah and her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors.

I can't remember what it was, but I remember finding Allen's stuttering nervousness shtick revolting. It's adorable now, in the context of a compelling picture, and maybe when he even tones it down a bit, but so far in MMM, it's just too over the top.

Diane's Keaton is dressed in tremendously oversized clothes, as well, and she looks like shit. These issues combined are so distracting, I can't focus on caring if there's been a murder enough to sympathize with Keaton tripping out because she has nothing better to do.

It makes me feel like a terrible human not to care in a plot if a man next door has killed his wife versus her just having a heart attack. It was probably personal if he did, so he wouldn't be a danger to anyone else. So what's the sense of taking justice into your own hands, if a situation's got nothing to do with you?

Now I'm hoping he murdered his wife, so I haven't wasted 34 minutes so far watching Diane Keaton flip out over nothing but some stupid paranoid flaw in her personality. I know this could be the catalyst for an affair with Anjelica Huston's character, who was just introduced as being the cool opposite of Keaton's frazzled quirky lady shtick, since affairs are a common theme in Allen's pictures, but hell oh hell there better be a murder, or something that makes the next hour and thirteen minutes worthwhile, otherwise I'm going to be hostile.

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