Deconstructing Harry
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -3

A divorced New Yorker writer, Harry, (Woody Allen) is going to be honored by the university that expelled him. Harry wants his son to accompany him to the ceremony, but his ex-wife (Kirstie Alley) won't allow it. So he and a prostitute kidnap the boy and head to the country. DECONSTRUCTING HARRY features vignettes from Harry's fertile imagination. While some of the scenes include chuckles, there are no belly laughs. One scene is Harry's alter-ego (Richard Benjamin) and his imaginary sister-in-law (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) having sex in front of her blind grandmother. Later, Harry's real-life sister-in-law (Judy Davis) threatens Harry with a pistol because she thinks his latest novel is about her. The players in Harry's real and imaginary life include Elisabeth Shue, Billy Crystal, Demi Moore, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, and more. This is Woody Allen's most honest cinematic self-examination even if it is not his funniest, so it's likely to have only modest box office success.

Just being an atheist is not enough satisfaction for Harry, so he must constantly denigrate right-wing religious Jews. Even though it goes against his philosophy, in his imagination he goes to hell where he sees nude women writhe about and he finds his father suffering. Dialogue is filled with over 50 f- and s-words in the many foul and profane discussions about love, what love means, and how it happens. Harry only equates love with sex. He has a number of sexual encounters, many with prostitutes, that include some passionate kissing. Several different women appear under sheets in his bed, with sex implied. Harry seems to think his sexual experiences will provide him with an answer to the meaning of life. But at the root of his quest, his character is still a morally bankrupt, self-absorbed atheist who is incapable of loving anyone. DECONSTRUCTING HARRY has no redeeming qualities for discerning viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Theresa Zumwalt
Distributor: Fine Line Features, 888 7th Ave., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106

Crude Language: Many (17) times -- Mild 5, Moderate 12
Obscene Language: Many (69) times (f-word 43, s-word 13, other 13)
Profanity: Many (18) times -- Regular 16 (G-d, J 7, G); Exclamatory 2
Violence: Once (woman points gun at ex-lover)
Sexual Intercourse: Once (fantasy scene of couple having sex in presence of blind woman); implied several times
Nudity: Many times (fantasy scene with female breast nudity as group of naked women writhe in background)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Constant (man frequently hires prostitutes, rapid fire discussions of explicit sexual activity)
Drug Abuse: Many times (pill popping, marijuana smoking, drinking)
Other: None
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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