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January 19, 2006 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1

The Honey. Tree!
The oldest original restaurant
on Orchard Lake is now on
klorthwastern Hwy.

"He certainly got off to a good start
and showed sympathy and enthusiasm
and said all the right things. But he did-
n't. He let the country down brutally."
Bill Clinton?
"I always liked Bill Clinton. I cam-
paigned for him before he was first
elected president, and always regarded
the Monica Lewinsky thing as laughable
evidence of a prudish population and
thought the whole thing was totally
absurd, and that he was very smart and
would have — if he ran today, he'd be
elected in a landslide!"
Chris Rock?
"Funny. I like him."
Sex and the City?
"I don't watch television. Not out of
principle —it just doesn't fit into my
schedule."

.

of the day, he planned on color-correct-
ing Scoop. After, he said he might go out
to dinner'to some "reasonable" restau-
rant in his East Side neighborhood; he
was looking forward to traveling to
Europe in a few weeks to play the clar-
inet.
Again and again, he brought up his
own black moods, insisted that he is
mildly depressed and consumed with
thoughts of his own mortality and the
miserable state of the human condition,
others' and his own.
"I'm sorry if I've depressed you,"
Woody Allen said. "But it is a birthday."
On the street, it was sunny. Allen looked
grudgingly happy. There was no black-
and-white card suggesting the end. Li

Copyright (c) 2000-2006 Featurewell.com ;

all rights reserved

Black Moods
It was his birthday, he would have to get
through it. Somewhere, there should
have been a Bobby Short piano or a
Preservation Hall jazz score playing. He
had worked that morning. For the rest

Rather, he has invaded the home
country of the WASPs whom he
patronized in the past in his most
humorlessly pretentious films. Yet
Match Point is wittier and more coher-
ent than anything he has done in ages;
it is well made and well thought out to
its very last shot.
The point is that, at 70 - after a 40-
year career in which he has directed 36
films, and acted in and/or wrote the
'screenplays for 10 more– Woody is
near the top of his game.

Desperate Meaures

If, in its climactic malignancy and
immorality, Match Point resembles any
previous Allen-opus even remotely, it
would have to be Crimes and
Misdemeanors (1989), which I recall
downgrading at the time for letting
Woody's nebbishy main character off
the hook by shifting the burden of guilt
for an evil act to a pseudo-protagonist
played by Martin Landau.
If I much prefer Match Point to
Crimes and Misdemeanors, it's because
his latest protagonist, Chris Wilton
(Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), a retired pro-
fessional tennis player who never won
the big matches and has now turned
club pro at a posh London establish-
ment, could be considered a self-
loathing negative-fantasy replica of the
director himself.
In the past, Woody the actor was pre-

Match Point, rated R, opens in
Detroit-area theaters on
Friday, Jan. 20.

sumed to:be the alter ego of Woody
the auteur, and much of the bite in his
humor came from the moral superiori-
ty his quick-witted mouthpiece assert-
ed over the questionable actions of
other characters, and of the deplorable
tendencies of society as a whole.
As it happens, there is not the slight-
est flaunting of moral superiority by
Wilton's upwardly mobile tennis pro. He
seems to be alwayS' thoughtfully pon-
dering his options as he virtually drifts
into a highly advantageous marriage to
Chloe Hewett (Emily Mortimer), the sis-
ter of Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), a
tennis client he has just met at the
club.
Match Point is not awash in ambience
as Chris begins his rapid ascent to a
world of riches and social prominence.
It all looks much too easy, and one
wonders at first if Woody is in the right
medium for what plays, initially at least,
like a stage-bound comedy of manners
– until, that is, Tom Hewett introduces
our hero to his explosively sensual
fiancee, Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson),
an aspiring American actress. Chris is
immediately entranced, and sets out to
gain her favors even as he is in the
process of courting and marrying
Chloe.
Neither Nola nor Chloe is treated
as the womanly ideal incarnated by
Diane Keaton or Mia Farrow in

Match Point on page 46

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January 19 m 2006

45

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