14 November 2004 | rbverhoef
Not bad, not great either
The problem with Woody Allen is that he has made great films, a lot, and that expectations for his work are always high. With 'Celebrity' it was not different and therefore it is a little disappointing. If another writer director would have made this film I think I would have liked it better. Maybe that is strange, to compare it with his other films simply happens.
In 'Celebrity' we follow Kenneth Branagh who plays Woody Allen, although he is named Lee Simon. A movie without Woody Allen himself is nice, but with a character that basically is Allen, why not play it yourself? On the other hand, Branagh does a terrific job. We see how Branagh divorces his wife and after that we have single episodes of his life where he meets women, tries to make them his, fails or succeeds, only to enter the next episode. At the same time we follow his ex-wife, Robin (Judy Davis), who meets a new man Tony (Joe Mantegna) and does settle.
Branagh is a writer. He writes a novel, has written two novels with bad reviews and now he finished a screenplay. In the episodes he tries to offer his script or new novel to people who can change it into a movie or book. We have Melanie Griffith and Leonardo DiCaprio as spoiled actors, Famke Janssen as a girl who really likes him and could help get his story into a book, Winona Ryder as the girl he has some real chemistry with and Charlize Theron as a supermodel.
The problem is that every episode feels like an episode instead of everything combined as a movie. The Theron and DiCaprio episodes are great, the Winona Ryder episode is sweet, the others are pretty standard. The intercuts of the ex-wife's life are pretty good as well, but still feel as single episodes.
Although the film as a whole is not that great there are enough moments to enjoy it. You will not be bored. The black and white photography looks terrific and that is something that makes the movie more pleasant. It is well acted and of course directed, but for a Woody Allen comedy it is not my first choice.