Allen plays Val Waxman, a two-dimensional, washed-up film director with a bad case of hypochondria and a reputation in the industry that is on par with Michael Cimino. In order to resurrect his career, Waxman's ex-wife Ellie (Téa Leoni) persuades her studio bigwig boyfriend Hal (Treat Willams) and his over-tanned studio executive cronie Ed (George Hamilton) to hand over the directing duties of their new big-budget noir remake set in Manhattan. Once the deal is done and the directing duties fall into his hands, Waxman's various neuroses finally catch up with him, and he ends up suffering (along with the audience) from psychosomatic blindness.
Continue reading: Hollywood Ending Review
Allen recounts both sides of his story concurrently, flip-flopping back and forth between his serious and lighthearted editions in order to highlight how the same basic plot outline can be molded for divergent purposes. In the film's solemn segment, Melinda is a neurotic, chain-smoking warning label against adultery, having lost her husband, custody of her children, and fragile hold on sanity because of a fling with a dashing Italian. Arriving on the Manhattan doorstep of her friends Lee (Jonny Lee Miller) and Laurel (Chloë Sevigny) during a get-together between friends and business associates, Melinda is a high-strung, near-anorexic mess, and her appearance eventually leads not only to a doomed romance with a dashing pianist and aspiring composer (Chiwetel Ejiofor, radiating intellectual charm), but also to the infidelity-incited end of struggling actor Lee and shopaholic Laurel's supposedly perfect marriage.
Continue reading: Melinda And Melinda Review