Melinda and Melinda
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

In his usual quirky style, Woody Allen wrote and directed this comedic drama about sophisticated New Yorkers who reflect his own insecurities about life and relationships. Two playwrights (Wallace Shawn and Larry Pine) engage in a lively conversation about how one simply stated situation can develop into either a comedy or a tragedy. Three fictional couples are interrupted at a private dinner party when distraught Melinda (Radha Mitchell) rings the doorbell. To the comedic writer, she is a new neighbor locked out of her apartment. To the tragic writer, she is a desperate old friend of the wives, Susan (Amanda Peet), Laurel (Chloe Sevigny) and Cassie (Brooke Smith), whose past includes drugs, divorce and mental illness. In both scenarios, the three wives decide that Melindas dilemma can be solved by introducing her to an unattached man, but she is drawn to another (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

The marriages of these sophisticated, pseudo-intellectuals are wobbling on foundations of shifting sand. The husbands seem intimidated by their career-minded wives, and the appearance of Melinda, a damsel in distress, evokes a manly response in them to protect her. Hobie (Will Ferrell) is relieved to find his wife Susan in bed with Melindas new boyfriend so he can pursue Melinda without feeling guilty. Chloes husband expresses a desire to have sex with Cassie, pregnant with her fourth child, just to satisfy his curiosity. Cassies husband tells his friend its about as appealing as having sex with a big fat woman. Heavy drinking, references to drug use, several profanities, an attempted suicide and a casual attitude about extramarital relationships paints a depressing picture of the characters self-absorbed, shallow lifestyle.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Summary
Crude Language: Once mild (hell 1)
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Many (17) times moderate (my G 4, G 7); strong (GD 3, J 3)
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Once mild (unmarried couple in bed together without nudity)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man asks friends pregnant wife to have sex with him)
Drug Abuse: Several times mild (social drinking); moderate (woman drinks excessively and pops pills)
Other: Marital infidelity treated lightly; men portrayed as weak buffoons
Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)