A Review by Jason
Starring: Woody Allen, Alan Alda, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton
Directed by: Woody Allen
Movie Released: 1996
I finally caught this 1996 Woody Allen flick the other day after years of putting it off. Nothing about the flick trulyhad me excited about it, except the names Woody Allen and Edward Norton. I had heard some mediocre to awful things about the flick and was even told that it’s a film that is best left forgotten. But I thought to myself, it can’t be that bad as I the opening credits rolled.
Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You is a musical about love, and the complications of love. It’s a neurotic story of how one family deals with falling in and out of love and then back in again. It’s a tale that comments on the facade we put up as we fall in love to impress one another, not letting our true selves show. All this wonderful neurotic commentary is set upon a musical backdrop. That’s right folks, it’s a Woody Allen musical.
Featuring all the actors original singing voices, Everyone Says I Love You was not originally sold a a musical to the cast. In fact, Allen “neglected” to tell them it was a musical until they all signed on. Only then did the cast find out that the New York based love story would feature the singing talents of Woody Allen, Edward Norton, Alan Alda, Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore along with others. The amateur singing actually makes the musical portion of the film to be more raw and realistic, however it is very hard to make any musical seem realistic. Very few times can someone break into a song and dance number in real life situations and be seen as normal. Each of the actors doing a fine job of humming the bars to the songs, but something still seems out of place.
That out of place moment I believe lies in the characters. In many Allen films, Woody himself takes the role as the neurotic bumbling, enlightened buffoon, however he in Everyone Says I Love You the film takes a different twist. Allen still plays the bumbling buffoon, also known as the only character he knows how to play (and the man Michael Cera wishes he could channel), but many of the other characters in the film share his wishy washy absurdities. It’s because of this that I had a very hard time relating to these characters. When you have a movie that is going to break out into song and dance at every possible occasion, you need to have a cast of characters that you care about. Unfortunately in Everyone Says I Love You, every character just grates on your nerves.
Filled with songs that lack a punch or substance, Allen’s film fails as a musical. There really isn’t a catchy enough tune to get people to remember the film, and the film reeks as a lack luster throwback to the musicals of old. Complete with a song themed to Halloween, and another that features dancing ghosts at a funeral parlor, Allen in many ways seems to be trying too hard to make something special. The only enjoyment I found out of this film was to see how many times Allen found ways to mention how wonderful New York is, a trend that is a staple in every one of his flicks.
When it was all said and done, I was more than happy to see the end credits roll on this flick. I’ve finally found a Woody Allen film that I really found little to no enjoyment in. Sorry folks, but this is a musical that is best left forgotten.