Celebrity Movie Review

Another fall, another movie from the Woodman.

Shot in black and white and filled with about 30 big-name stars, Celebrity is a welcome return to old-school Allen, his first really good film since 1994's Bullets Over Broadway.

It's about time. Without the stupid camera tricks/dream sequences (Deconstructing Harry), singing cast members (Everyone Says I Love You), and Greek choruses (Mighty Aphrodite), it's easy to rediscover everyone - and myself - likes Woody so much.

Here's a bright, witty, funny, and topical story that could happen to anyone (unlike the aforementioned pictures). While Allen is noticeably absent from the cast, Kenneth Branagh does a surprisingly authentic imitation as a reporter assigned to the celebrity beat for a travel magazine. Branagh quickly finds himself caught up in the mystique and romanticism of the celebrity lifestyle and does his best to worm his way in. Meanwhile, his frumpy, schoolteacher wife (Judy Davis) is cast along the wayside.

That neither of them ends up getting what they bargained for is a given, but how Allen pulls it off is sheer mastery. In some ways this is an updating of both Manhattan and Crimes and Misdemeanors, and its cautionary message about what's wrong with society is curiously appropriate for a millennium audience.

Still, trademark Allen problems like questionable editing and jerky camerawork make this film a bit less than perfect. The cinematic layout of the scenes is not up to Allen's usual perfectionism, either. Worst of all, many jokes fall flat, and others just miss on their timing.

No matter, because on the whole, Celebrityis quite funny and is simply an amazing send-up of the stars it frames.

Of course, you have to wonder if Leo got the joke.

Hail to the king, baby.


Comments

Celebrity Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1998

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