16 April 2006 | itamarscomix
Silly Allen is good Allen
'Everything You Always To Know About Sex' is probably the last time Woody Allen really fooled about and made an ass of himself with minimal artistic pretenses, and given the mediocre quality of recent disposable duds like 'Melinda & Melinda' and 'Anything Else', it's quite refreshing. True, this 1972 collection of extremely lewd skits isn't quite as impressive and thought-provoking as some of Allen's best works, like 'Annie Hall', 'Manhattan' or for that matter even the follow-up 'Sleeper'; yet there's an energy to 'Everything You Always Wanted To Know' that Allen has not shown for at least a decade, and in that light it's still entirely classic.
If anything, the film is closest in its spirit to early Allen films like 'Bananas' and 'Sleeper', but it actually feels more like a British comedy, and is clearly influenced by shows like 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and 'The Benny Hill Show', in it's chaotic and rude humor. Still, Allen's mark is all over the skits, even when he isn't in them. One of the best of the bunch, in fact, is the skit titled 'What Is Sodomy', which stars Gene Wilder. Influences of both Monty Python and Mel Brooks can be felt in it, but it's entirely Allen; and still, it's Wilder that makes it perfect. Even more Pythonish is the fabricated game-show 'What's Your Perversion'.
The best and most memorable is the last skit, entitled 'What Happens During Ejaculation', in which Allen does a wonderful portrayal of a sperm, and we catch a glimpse of the action in the control room of a man's body during sexual intercourse. The skit is brilliantly satirical and ranks with Allen's best moments, nearly overshadowing the rest of the film. Still, it's not without it's unforgettable moments; other than Wilder, also worthy of special praise is John Carradine who is wonderful as the ultimate parody of a mad scientist, and let's not forget Woody Allen as a fool in the Middle Ages misquoting Hamlet and getting his hand stuck up the Queen's chastity belt, and his wonderful performance as an Italian Casanova.
So no, it's not quite one of Allen's best films, but it's close. The humor is dirty, yes, but not childish; Allen's intelligence is there, but it's much lighter than 'Annie Hall' or other classics, and like a Monty Python or a Mel Brooks it bears multiple viewings. A movie that's funny as hell, essential for Allen fans, and recommended for all.