Sep 14, 2012

[Movies] Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

I love musicals.

I have mixed feelings about Woody Allen movies.

This movie put those elements together and the results were...interesting, to say the least. At least the elements of each movie "genre" of sorts didn't feel too distinct from one another. But it's hard to say how I felt the mix of everything worked out over all.

The movie featured quite a number of big name stars in an interesting casting selection. But in the long run you're also dealing with a Woody Allen screenplay, and thus all the characters end up sounding like Woody Allen as well. And this does end up being a somewhat weird juxtaposition of characterizations. Or just an odd mash-up of different actors and Woody Allen. Or whatever.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself. Let's start this review properly in order to get back into the normal groove of things.


Synopsis: Everyone Says I Love You is a 1996 musical movie written and directed by Woody Allen. The movie managed to snag the nomination for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globe Awards.

The movie starts with Holden (Edward Norton) professing his love for Sklar Dandrige (Drew Barrymore), who comes from a fairly well to do family. Her mother Steffi (Goldie Hawn) had divorced Joe (Woody Allen) and had re-married to Bob (Alan Alda). Thus we actually have the movie being narrated by DJ (Natasha Lyonne), who is Steffi's daughter from the original marriage, while Skyler and Scott (Lukas Haas) are her half-siblings. And the family certainly has their share of quirks like how Scott's political beliefs have now started to come in conflict with his father's while Steffi has a penchant for adopting people as "cases," like ex-convict Charles (Tim Roth).

On the other hand, DJ decides to help he father Joe with his efforts to woo a woman he has bumped into to. And it just so happens that DJ is familiar with Von (Julia Roberts) and thus is able to feed her father all the tips that he needs in order to become the perfect man for Von. And how their various story interconnect, complicate one another and eventually resolve does make for quite the interesting adventure. And a musical one at that.

Now the movie does not involve original music. Instead it's all about popular ballads and other songs with lyrics updated or tweaked in various ways in order to make it fit the movie's plot and time-setting more. and given a lot of the movie involves Paris, you can imagine how most of the songs involve love in one way or another.

Now the music is not meant to be ironic or anything like that. Instead we do have a genuine musical of sorts that designed to celebrate love in all of its forms. And a good musical needs big dance numbers and campy choreography and this movie certainly delivers in that regard. And at first you wonder if they're just being silly but over time the numbers just work. And I genuinely enjoyed a lot of them.

The best dance, without a doubt, is number involving Goldie Hawn and Woody Allen. You wouldn't expect this to be my favorite number in the movie given Allen's involvement, but quite frankly the overall effect of the choreography was pleasantly beautiful and elegant in its own way. Yeah, this is one of the numbers that really defined the movie for me.

My only quirk is when we stop celebrating the musical aspects and go back to the Woody Allen bits. And given how wordy the dialog is, we have everyone just sounding like Woody Allen. I think Ed Norton ended up doing the best inadvertent Woody Allen impressions in terms of how he delivered his lines but the mix of Woody Allen dialog and Julia Roberts acting was certainly a unique experience.

Did that make it a bad movie? Maybe not entirely. But at times it was certainly a tad tiring or at the very least a lot to swallow. And seriously, you end up with characters talking a mile a minute about US politics or just the complexities of human relationships. The list goes on and on.

The various love stories that define the movie do get resolved in the end, admittedly in a rather Woody Allen fashion. And in this aspect I'll definitely say that's not a bad thing since it keeps this movie as a bit more complex and slightly cerebral. Thus it's not quite the usual tripe that we encounter in a lot of romantic comedies.

Everyone Says I Love You is a different kind of musical that has very familiar elements and yet also very unique bits to it. This movie musical gets 3.5 dancing store clerks out of a possible 5.


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