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February 17, 2011

In light of the fact that today is the day all single people in the world love to hate, I decided to watch a classic romance movie. I don’t normally go for full blown romance movies; never seen Harry Met Sally, or Sleepless In Seatle, but I can tell you about every bad guy from every Die Hard movie. So I moved out of my comfort zone and put on Manhattan while I was at work today. I love movies about New York because I am from the Big Apple. I love the grittiness and real life that they tend to represent. Before I start my review of the film I should also say that I have never seen a Woody Allen movie besides for Scoop (I know, all the film-buffs out there gasp in disgust and contempt). I guess even though I am Jewish and from NY, I was never drawn to his self-deprecating, sarcastic humor. And today I found out why.

Manhattan focuses on Woody Allen just being whiny mal-content self, except for the perception that he can get multiple attractive women to be all over him, which is probably based solely on his own perception. Allen’s character, Isaac, is a divorcee and is dating a 17-year old high schooler named Tracy (played by Mariel Hemingway who was nominated for an Oscar but after losing out the leading role in Basic Instinct to Sharon Stone pretty much fell off the beaten path). I guess dating a 17-year old isn’t that bad… when you’re 18. But Isaac is 42, and literally only talks about how much older he is than this girl the entire movie. Obviously Tracy says she’s “in love” with Isaac, but he keeps brushing it off as an adolescent crush as he continues to drink and talk about upper-west side bourgeois crap, constantly taking her to old movies and galleries. During this time Isaac’s friend Yale introduces Isaac to his mistress. Mary the mistress is played by an uptight and disheveled, but intellectual Dianne Keaton. Of course Isaac is immediately put off by Mary’s confidence and cynicism, which is absurd because there is no one more cynical then an Upper West Side Jewish aspiring writer. But this disdain quickly becomes an inherent interest. And when Yale decides that he can’t break up his marriage for Mary, Isaac’s see his chance to swoop in and pick up the pieces, kind of like a Jewish vulture. Once again, I have no idea how Woody actually imagined himself getting these two women while he was writing this. Wait, make that three hot women; his ex-wife is played by a surprisingly good looking and newly turned lesbian Meryl Streep who writes a book about their relationship which includes them having a threesome with another woman. A threesome! With Woody Allen, Meryl Street, and for all we know Jenna Jamison, who, like all women in the world of Woody Allen, love short, cynical, and in every way average men.

Really, this guy?

For the rest of the movie Isaac pines over Mary, while trying to understand her intricate ways. He breaks up with his high-school chick, tells her to go find herself in Paris, and starts dating Mary, which is still really weird because I feel like Woody Allen is just asexual and when he wants to have a kid he just divides, no dating necessary. The two of them pretty much just whine for the rest of the movie about sex, art, anything that gets put in front of them.

Woody Allen's real dating process

I don’t really care if I spoil this for anyone, because it’s not that much of a shocker, but obviously Mary dumps him to get back with Yale, and Isaac takes the typical run through New York, get passed by every cab, show up right at the last minute run to get to Tracy. She is leaving for Paris, and like a complete idiot he asks her to stay with him. Conflicting ideals much Woody? I guess the point is that guys can never make up their minds until they are forced too, but really I think Woody just wanted to make sure he could get tail some at the end of the day, even if that tail was was completely underage, illegal, and probably shouldn’t be sleeping with a balding writer who complains about everything. Apparently this movie is somewhat autobiographical as Woody has a thing for weird relationships, and underage girls. Mr. Allen married his adopted Asian daughter who is 35 years younger than him. Whaaatttttt?! Yep, no typo there. So when your watching a Woody Allen movie, like Manhattan, and you try to analyze the reasons behind him dating an 17 year old as if it was his way of showing that societies norms are taken too strictly and people can alter their perception of one other based on loose cultural and moral values which leads to equality, don’t. Because it’s just Woody Allen making an excuse for wanting to go to bed with his little Asian adopted daughter. In conclusion, I’m probably going to skip out on the next Woody Allen movie.

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