Woody Allen stars as Val Waxman, a two-time Oscar winner turned washed-up, neurotic director in desperate need of a comeback. When it comes, Waxman finds himself backed into a corner: Work for his ex-wife Ellie or forfeit his last shot. Is Val blinded by love when he opts for the reconnect? Is love blind when it comes to Ellie's staunch support? Literally and figuratively, the proof is the picture.
Woody Allen plays the maladjusted Val Waxman, a once well-regarded Oscar-winning director who is now reduced to shooting commercials. Ellie (Téa Leoni), a studio executive and Val's ex-wife, makes a huge pitch to get him hired onto a movie she feels he was born to make: a Manhattan-set period film. Val gets the job but when he starts filming, he comes down with a case of hysterical blindness and has to enlist his agent, Al (Mark Rydell), to help. When "Hollywood Ending" is spitting one-liners, the picture has the gone-delirious feel of Thelonious Monk crunching notes, a wired, jazzy rhythm specific to this comic. But once the energy from the jokes dies down, we're left with a project so stale you feel like opening a window to let some air in. — Elvis Mitchell
2002-05-01 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of Hollywood Ending