Hollywood Ending (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

If you love Woody Allen, you're going to feel a tear crossing your cheek when you read this dialogue. The master of sophisticated banter could come up with nothing better than this:

Woody: I reject their offer.

Agent: There's nothing to reject.

Woody: Well, I reject it ... anyway.


Woody: Part of me wants it so badly

Agent: And the rest of you?

Woody: Also wants it.

Pretty witty stuff, eh? That's Woody's current level. Those schoolyard one-liners represent all the gas left in the tank of a man who was once the greatest writer of one-liners the world has ever known, possibly excepting Nixon. And I don't think Nixon was trying to be funny.



For the record, the film is a story about a has-been director who is called back to direct a major movie after ten years of commercials and garbage. He is forced to work with his ex-wife and her current lover. To make the story more complicated or something, he experiences psychosomatic blindness while on the job, and has to pretend he can see because he can't afford to lose the gig. Through a series of implausible contrivances, he manages to finish the entire movie without his eyesight.

There were some funny ideas here and there.

  • In the film-within-a-film, the set designer said he could work with natural NYC locations, except he had to build the Empire State Building and Central Park.
  • Before Woody gets his break, we see him making a film in Canada, amid swirling blizzards, yelping dog teams, and runaway moose. And that was downtown Toronto! Of course, since it was Canada, he received his compensation in pelts. 
  • When the film-within-a-film was completed, the critics hated it and the audiences almost lynched Woody. He then regained his sight, watched it himself, and realized it may have been the worst film ever. But the film later opens in France, and the French declare it the greatest work of genius in the history of cinema.

I like Woody so much that I hate to point this out, but he swiped that French Twist from Gilligan's Island. In one episode, the islanders made an incomprehensible, amateurish movie and when it washed ashore it was declared to be a symbolist masterpiece. I think the islanders were heroes in Sweden rather than France, but the joke was essentially the same.

So there you have it. Woody is reduced to swiping jokes from Gilligan.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1 format

A typical Woody movie is made for $10 million or so, grosses $20 million or so, and makes everyone happy eventually. This one, however, was a disaster. Made for $16 million, it grossed only $4 million. And, frankly, the financial failure was deserved. If you like Woody's work, see one of the old films and pretend this doesn't exist.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 2/4, filmcritic.com 2/5, Apollo 75/100

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: made for a modest $16 million dollars, it grossed only $4 million in the USA


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. This is barely watchable for Woody's fans, a must-skip for everyone else.

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