Melinda and Melinda

( 4 )

Overview

While Woody Allen has long fused comedy and drama in his films, he embraces the two styles in a new and unusual way in this feature. Sy Wallace Shawn is enjoying dinner with some friends when they begin debating the nature of the tragic and the humorous. Sy, observing that a very fine line separates the two, decides to demonstrate this notion by showing how the same essential story can be either funny or sad depending on the way certain elements are handled; for the rest of the film, we jump back and forth ...
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Overview

While Woody Allen has long fused comedy and drama in his films, he embraces the two styles in a new and unusual way in this feature. Sy Wallace Shawn is enjoying dinner with some friends when they begin debating the nature of the tragic and the humorous. Sy, observing that a very fine line separates the two, decides to demonstrate this notion by showing how the same essential story can be either funny or sad depending on the way certain elements are handled; for the rest of the film, we jump back and forth between two versions of the story of Melinda Radha Mitchell, a young woman with some serious problems in her life. In the tragic version, Melinda crashes a dinner party thrown by old friends Laurel Chloë Sevigny and Lee Jonny Lee Miller. When she arrives, Melinda is distraught and under the influence of pills and alcohol, much to the annoyance of Lee, an actor hoping to impress a producer who is one of his guests. After a bad breakup with her husband, Melinda lost custody of her children and came to New York City, where she became involved with Ellis Moonsong Chiwetel Ejiofor, a handsome and well-mannered composer whose promises to her proved to be worthless. Meanwhile, on the funny side of town, Melinda shows up dazed and confused at the home of Susan Amanda Peet and Hobie Will Ferrell, who are in the midst of a dinner party. Learning about the sad state of Melinda's love life after divorcing her husband and losing custody of her children, Susan decides to play Cupid and fix her friend up with a well-to-do dentist. However, neither Susan nor Melinda are aware that there is another man deeply interested in the troubled divorcée -- Hobie. Melinda and Melinda also features Josh Brolin, Vinessa Shaw, and noted theatrical director Gene Saks.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Is life essentially comic or tragic? That’s the question posed here by writer-director Woody Allen, attempting something new in form and structure but falling back on familiar gags and character types in the telling of this two-layered story. As always, the principals live and work in New York City and belong to that elite, insular group of media types, showbiz folk, and pointy-headed academics employed by Allen so frequently. The movie’s central debate is mulled over during dinner at a colorful Manhattan eatery, as a man relates a tale to two writers and asks, "Comic, or tragic?" In the tragic version, Melinda Radha Mitchell is a mentally ill divorcée who, after abandoning her family, turns to old friend Laurel Chloe Sevigny and her husband, Lee Jonny Lee Miller, for aid and comfort. She shows up at their apartment in the middle of a dinner party thrown to impress a producer from whom Lee hopes to get acting work. The comic version makes Melinda Mitchell again a free spirit who comes between independent film producer Susan Amanda Peet and her husband, Hobie Will Ferrell, a marginally talented actor hoping to land a role in his wife’s latest project. It’s the latter character -- played with uncharacteristic restraint by Ferrell -- that serves as Allen’s mouthpiece; had this film been made 15 years earlier, Allen himself would have portrayed Hobie. That he doesn’t is one of the reasons this film stands out among recent Allen efforts. Even if Melinda and Melinda fails to clear the bar set by such classics as Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters, it finds the writer-director still open to innovation, and still capable of genuinely funny lines, such as when Peet shuts up Hobie with: “Of course we communicate. Now can we not talk about it anymore?”
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2005
  • UPC: 024543189299
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Radha Mitchell Melinda
Chloë Sevigny Laurel
Jonny Lee Miller Lee
Will Ferrell Hobie
Amanda Peet Susan
Chiwetel Ejiofor Ellis
Wallace Shawn Sy
Josh Brolin Greg
Gene Saks
Vinessa Shaw Stacey
David Aaron Baker Steve
Arija Bareikis Sally
Andy Borowitz Doug
Rob Buntzen Antique Shop Owner
Steve Carell Walt
Michele Durning Party Guest
Michael J. Farina Man With Dog
Stephanie Roth Haberle Louise
Shalom Harlow Joan
Rick Vincent Holmes Party Guest
Yi-Wen Jiang Shanghai Quartet
Christina Kirk Jennifer
Katie Kreisler Director
Honggang Li Shanghai Quartet
Weigang Li Shanghai Quartet
Geoffrey Nauffts Bud
Zak Orth Peter
Neil Pepe Al
Larry Pine Max
Alyssa Pridham Acting Student
Quincy Rose 2nd A.D.
Matt Servitto Jack
Brooke Smith Cassie
Daniel Sunjata Billy
Nicholas Tzavaras Shanghai Quartet
Technical Credits
Woody Allen Director, Screenwriter
Gary Alper Sound/Sound Designer
Letty Aronson Producer
Charles H. Joffe Executive Producer
Alisa Lepselter Editor
Santo Loquasto Production Designer
Richard Patrick Asst. Director
Helen Robin Executive Producer
Jack Rollins Executive Producer
Judy Ruskin Costumes/Costume Designer
Juliet Taylor Casting
Stephen Tenenbaum Executive Producer
Tom Warren Art Director
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Melinda and Melinda - Pan and Scan
1. Main Titles [1:30]
2. Comedy or Tragedy? [2:25]
3. Unannounced [2:57]
4. Sad Story [2:36]
5. Doctor's Wife [3:25]
6. Communicating [1:10]
7. Playing Around [4:40]
8. Match-Making [2:08]
9. A Day at the Races [3:53]
10. Big Date [2:32]
11. Piano Player [7:46]
12. The Hamptons [5:58]
13. Blood-Sucker [:52]
14. Premeditated [5:30]
15. Bartok [3:21]
16. Soul Searching [3:49]
17. Poor Melinda [:49]
18. Problem Solved [4:49]
19. Consumed With Jealousy [2:55]
20. Paranoid [:45]
21. A Big Mess [3:35]
22. Halloween [1:34]
23. Spies [4:20]
24. To Good Times/End Titles [2:50]
Disc #1, Side B -- Melinda and Melinda - Widescreen
1. Main Titles [1:30]
2. Comedy for Tragedy? [2:25]
3. Unannounced [2:57]
4. Sad Story [2:36]
5. Doctor's Wife [3:25]
6. Communicating [1:10]
7. Playing Around [4:40]
8. Match-Making [2:08]
9. A Day at the Races [3:53]
10. Big Date [2:32]
11. Piano Player [7:46]
12. The Hamptons [5:58]
13. Blood-Sucker [:52]
14. Premeditated [5:30]
15. Bartok [3:21]
16. Soul Searching [3:49]
17. Poor Melinda [:49]
18. Problem Solved [4:49]
19. Consumed With Jealousy [2:55]
20. Paranoid [:45]
21. A Big Mess [3:35]
22. Halloween [1:34]
23. Spies [4:20]
24. To Good Times/End Titles [2:50]
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Menu

Disc #1, Side A -- Melinda and Melinda - Pan and Scan
   Play
   Language Selection
      Language Select: English Mono
      Language Select: French Mono
      Language Select: Spanish Mono
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
Disc #1, Side B -- Melinda and Melinda - Widescreen
   Play
   Language Selection
      Language Select: English Mono
      Language Select: French Mono
      Language Select: Spanish Mono
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Woody Allen's Worst Film

    I go back and forth, but I think Melinda & Melinda might very well be worse than Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending, AND Anything Else, the three other terrible movies Woody Allen has made in this decade. I take no joy in reporting this, as Mr. Allen is my single favorite filmmaker. There will likely never be another to equal his run of quality films from 1975 to 1995 in terms of quantity, quality, and variety. Every film he made during that 20 year period, with only one or two exceptions, was either very good, great, or a downright masterpiece. (And even the one or two exceptions weren't truly BAD.) But Melinda & Melinda is bad. Badly written, and badly made, and a chore to watch. Avoid this film, it will make you sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    It's a movie to watch with your mother-in-law

    Like most, my mother-in law is smarter than I'll ever be. This is a movie, told in small chunks, that I can keep up with. It is also a movie to use as a springboard for further discussion. Allen has had a string of tough movies lately. Other than "Small Time Crooks" nothing has worked in twenty-five years. "Melinda and Melinda" is a return to the amusing and neurotic Allen asking Life to answer some tough questions. A real treat. Be sure to ask your mother-in-law to carve out some time over Thanksgiving to watch it with you. Maybe she'll let you take notes!?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hooray, More Lame Woody Allen Stuff.

    How does a untalented & uninteresting guy like Woody Allen, who's every film has ranged from pathetic to mega-mediocre, continue to get both funds & notable stars to play in his every borefest. Annie Hall, Husbands & Wives, Anything Else & now this one, its' a neverending story of sheer failure. New York has a rich history of producing such filmmaking talent, Allen is not one of them. He & Uwe Boll go hand in hand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Woody's comeback

    For the last five years, Woody Allen has made films that have ranged from the mediocre to the disappointing. A sad state for such a gifted film artist. With "Melinda and Melinda", Allen returns to top form with film that delicately balances comedy and drama. Mr. Allen, I applaud you, and I look forward to your next achievement.

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