Go to Homepage   Everyone Says I Love You: Sinatra Envy

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Universal Studios, Focus Features (DVD), ASIN 6305428085

With this movie, Woody Allen rewrites West Side Story. Leonard Bernstein would not believe what happens when Tim Roth enters the formula of star-crossed lovers. Somehow, trekking from Broadway onto film also costs half the singers at least half a note. Fans who enjoy jazz with that tinny effect will drool over half the music here. Anyone with perfect pitch, though, will wonder why Allen allows performers to swim just beneath the melodic line.

dvd: everyone says I love you Could he be trying to create the musical equivalent of Sinatra envy? Certainly, if a singer cocks his head and sidles around the way Allen does, he does not create a physical foundation for correct tonality. The roles played by Alan Alda and Edward Norton represent older/younger versions of this famous director/writer/actor. So, they sing with their heads tucked into their chests. If they wish to be true to overall structural parallels, they must sing flat. If they held up their heads and thrust out their chests, they would belong in West Side Glory.

The best scenes occur when the characters turn into ghosts--appropriately enough when one movie shadows another. Dance numbers, especially those set at hospitals or funerals, allow patients to swing away with nurses and orderlies. This kind of wish fulfillment, for the ailing and dead, epitomizes Allen's febrile imagination. Set these choruses against their prototype -- high-kicking teenagers in West Side Story -- and this film becomes macabre. When ghosts out-zing the living, romance collides with theater of the absurd -- where Woody Allen rocks!

The kicker -- to restore vitality to a family strung out on liberalism -- proves to be none other than Roth. Who plays a psychopath more naturally than this actor? Kevin Spacey, in Seven, of course -- but he sweats. By contrast, Roth cases every room he enters. His character does not know the meaning of propriety or honesty. Idealism -- who ever heard of that? Not this thug, who winds through events until he finds what he wants to steal. He makes us question the meaning of "COOL." Under all the gloss, does jazz, too, betray criminal longings?

Everyone Says I Love You definitely applies to Goldie Hawn as a ditzy socialite who mistakes a killer for an underprivileged child. This Golden Girl reprises Saturday Night Live and gives us Monday through Sunday Guffaws. As resistant to change as Roth's character, she comes across as WAY beyond Dumb Blonde. She balances a scale relying on her for justice in incomprehensible politics. With her hearty naiveté at one end and anti-social cynicism at the other, Republicans clump as radical outcasts in a uniformly manic-depressive cast.

No fewer than three delightful actresses shine here. Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore never seem satisfied, though, with their loyal lovers' best offerings. This film even suggests that a male must creep into their psychoanalytical sessions to understand their most obvious desires. Here, perhaps, Woody Allen spoofs the most famous question in sexual history. "What does a woman want?" She wants a man who NEVER asks that question -- that's for sure!

Meg Curtis

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