Manhattan Murder Mystery

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

Larry (Woody Allen) and Carol (Diane Keaton) meet their apartment neighbors in the elevator one night. Carol accepts an invitation for coffee. Paul House (Jerry Adler) shows Larry his stamp collection and says he runs an old cinema. The next day, Larry and Carol discover that Mrs. House died suddenly of a heart attack. Some of the comments don't add up for Carol, and she suspects Paul of murder. When Larry shows less than enthusiastic interest, she discusses her thoughts with their friend, Ted (Alan Alda). Ted, a playwright, encourages her to solve the mystery. Eventually Larry decides Carol's suspicions may be right and joins Carol, Ted and his friend Marsha (Anjelica Huston) in their investigation. The four plot a way to trap Paul. But the trap gets dangerous when Paul kidnaps Carol. The search for clues sometimes drags and makes this movie seem a little longer than it really is. The humor and suspense make for an entertaining story, but frequent use of hand-held cameras make scenes bounce like a home movie. Expect this film to turn up on television soon.

Larry and Carol have an unusually happy relationship, reminding some of Nick and Nora Charles in THE THIN MAN. The film is refreshingly free of crude language, nudity, and sexual scenes. While there are a few references to sexual activity, they are mostly in the context of marriage. Larry shows a slight jealousy of Carol's interaction with Ted, but it doesn't threaten the marriage. Carol also shows jealousy when Ted and Larry show interest in newcomer Marsha's thoughts on the mystery. However, the stronger relationships of friends and marriage endure. Violence is limited to a brief struggle between Larry and Paul, and a shoot-out behind the cinema screen which breaks a number of mirrors. Mrs. House's body partially falls through an elevator roof and is later dropped into a scrap metal furnace. The major drawback to the film is frequent use of regular profanity. Also, the characters seem to use "God" as a punctuation mark in their sentences. The profanities prevent an acceptable endorsement of the film.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
TriStar Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Once

Profanity: Many (38) times - Regular 18, Exclamatory 20

Violence: Brief struggle, shooting, dead body dropped in steel furnace

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: References to

Drugs: Social drinking, cigarette smoking

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience:

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.