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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'll never be like him ... I'm so depressed ...", 1 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Play It Again, Sam [DVD] (DVD)
"I never knew a dame who didn't understand a slap in the mouth or a slug from a forty-five ..."
Woody Allen wrote the screenplay for Play It Again, Sam by adapting his own 1969 hommage to Casablanca stage play ... but left the directing to Herbert Ross. Not one of Allen's best films - although certainly packed with some his best one-liners (hence four stars) - the film does start off more or less as Quintessential Allen: Allan Felix (Allen) stares open-mouthed in desperate adulation at his screen hero Rick/Humphrey Bogart, who apparently knows how to handle both women and his own emotions. Allan/Woody/the film's very first line of dialogue occurs outside the cinema as he shambles away from the matinée, "I'll never be like him ... I'm so depressed ..."
The film contains some of Allen's best visual gags, such as trying to look 'cool' running a coin through his fingers, discussing the merits of numerous drugs and pills, fiddling around with the Oscar Peterson record, tossing a salad, attempting to fend-off two bikers, and grunting nervously at his first date ...! And yet, the film ends on an uplifting note of self-denial and nobility ... as it parallels his favourite film.
Overly-busy and self-important people are coolly parodied by Allen stalwart Tony Roberts, whose arrival at any location commences with telephoning his PA to inform her where he can be contacted along with alternative telephone numbers.
That we often give in to our rampaging hormones instead of Thinking It Over before aiming at the clearly-wrong target, is amply shown us as Woody, desperate for A Date - any date - approaches a spaced-out chick in the museum. "That's a rather lovely Jackson Pollock ... What does it say to you?" Without batting an eyelid or acknowledging his presence, she drones into, "It restates the fundamental negativeness of the Universe. The hideous loneliness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd Cosmos." Somewhat stumped but still undaunted, Woody asks, "What are you doing Saturday night?" Chick [still ignoring him]: "Committing suicide ..." Woody: "And Friday night?" Chick [finally noticing him]: gives him A Dirty Look and just walks away.
Well, you would, wouldn't you ...?!!
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Location: Norwich, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 27,766