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Celebrity (1998)
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Review Date: November 22, 1998
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Producers: Jean Doumanian
Actors:
Kenneth Branagh
Judy Davis
Charlize Theron
Plot:
This film follows the parallel lives of Lee (Branagh) and his wife Robin (Davis), after their 16-year marriage ends in divorce. Lee the writer, covers the celebrity beat, and meets various types of famous people from the really important to the wannabee importants, while Robin, attempts to seriously reconstruct her confidence, and her ability to love again. Some vignettes behind the closed doors of celebrity ensues.
Critique:
Mediocre, mostly unfunny, sometimes interesting piece of cinema that doesn't really blow you away in any sense or proportion, offers very little real insight into the lives of celebrities, but does present an excellent sequence with Leonardo DiCaprio, playing the role of the unbridled, young movie actor. Over the years, I've noticed that most Woody Allen movies are predeterminedly enjoyed by those in the Woody Allen fan club or not. I mean, most people I know either hate the guy, or love the guy. I personally love the guy and his films, but his most recent crop has been less than original or interesting. Most recently, he seems to be writing his scripts in his sleep, with only the exhaustive Hollywood cast list lingering at the top of his priority template.

This film was much like DECONSTRUCTING HARRY (5/10) in that it had some really funny lines, but it mostly played out like a drama, and didn't succeed exceptionally well in either forum. I was expecting a lot of behind the scenes insight into celebrities and the public's fascination thereof, but this film just presented me with a bunch of scenes of Kenneth Branagh (doing his best Woody Allen impressions) trying to get it on with different celebrity types. Not that interesting or funny, to tell you the truth. The rest of the cast was also pretty fair, but for the exceptionally well-written and well-played scenario with Leo DiCaprio venting out on his girlfriend and an innocent hotel room, which proudly stood out like a sore thumb. The whole scene was quite funny, extremely well-written, and played out very naturally by the Cap-man himself.

All in all, the film never sold me on any insight into celebrity, barely worked on a relationship level with Branagh and Judy Davis trying to get over their divorce, but did offer several very funny lines and a pretty slick Leo DiCaprio scene. Unlike MANHATTAN, this movie also had very little in cinematography to get excited about, and even less in originality, as Allen's New York-style-humor well seems to be drying up in the 90's. I loved 1994's BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (8/10), but since then, the Woodman has done very little to impress this life-long fan. Oh well, I won't give up on you just yet, Woodrow, but I would not recommend this mediocre entry into someone else's weekend movie plans, that's for sure. For those interested, go rent BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, BANANAS (8/10) or ANNIE HALL (9/10) and enjoy the Woody of young, and hope that his next few films revive his creativity, and rejuvenate his capacity to wow us all over again!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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