Jerry Falk is an aspiring writer in New York, who falls in love at first sight with a free-spirited young woman named Amanda. Jerry has heard the phrase that life is like "anything else," but he soon finds that life with the unpredictable Amanda isn't like anything else at all.
Woody Allen, blessedly declining to cast himself as the romantic lead, appears to have shaken off the tone-deafness and compulsiveness that have marred his last three pictures. While far from his best work, this slight, tart anti-romantic comedy has a loose, easy rhythm and an impressive number of funny lines and gags. Jason Biggs, who is perhaps a little too amiable for the job, plays the Woody Allen surrogate, a comedy writer named Jerry Falk who is saddled with a difficult manager (Danny DeVito) and an impossible girlfriend, a would-be actress named Amanda (Christina Ricci). Amanda, a sexual dynamo and a manipulative head case, might have been an exercise in sour misogyny, but Ms. Ricci has a feral intelligence that turns her into a finely drawn comic monster. Mr. Allen himself appears as an older comedy writer who appoints himself Jerry's mentor. The character — paranoid, vengeful, bluntly anti-intellectual — is both the continuation of other Woody Allen characters and a rebuke to their needy, self-conscious, analytical approaches to life. — A.O. Scott
2003-09-19 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Anything Else