Everyone Says I Love You

on December 06, 1996 by Dale Winogura
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A very odd yet fulfilling musical comedy as only Woody Allen could conceive, "Everyone Says I Love You" combines affectionate nostalgia with modern neuroses to create his most purely enjoyable movie since 1987's "Radio Days." Not quite a traditional musical, yet adhering to certain musical traditions, it's a strangely delightful hybrid of Allen's usual personal concerns with deeply felt tributes to early 20th-century popular songs.
   The story might be similar to most "Woodys," in that couples separate, become involved with others, and separate again, but it's without the bitter bile of "Husbands and Wives" or the self-righteous preaching of "Crimes and Misdemeanors." Allen seems to be having more fun with family relationships here, but the underlying serious purpose prevents triviality from intruding. When the characters sing standards like "I'm Through With Love" and "All My Life," it's to express feelings of romantic desire and frustration that words alone couldn't properly convey.
   The cast works magic together in the most lilting ensemble of any Allen film. Though they're not trained singers, except for a radiant Goldie Hawn and charming Alan Alda, they deliver a touching sincerity and purity that make the numbers register. Most of their roles lack strong individuality or dimensions, but that's in keeping with the movie's lighter, buoyant spirit.
   Deftly mixing fantasy and reality, the bright colors create just the right stylized setting as Allen's camera slowly glides in long shot through the musical numbers. Perhaps his style is too consciously clever in its experimental daring to achieve a great film, but its delectable nuttiness makes the film irresistible.
   As his characters search for elusive perfection, Allen's wit proves as razor sharp as ever, infusing his latest effort with a substantial human insight and sensitivity that once again place him in the upper pantheon of moviemakers. Starring Woody Allen, Goldie Hawn, Alan Alda and Julia Roberts. Directed and written by Woody Allen. Produced by Robert Greenhut. A Miramax release. Musical comedy. Rated R for one use of strong language. Running time: 100 min
Tags: Woody Allen, Goldie Hawn, Alan Alda, Julia Roberts, Robert Greenhut, A Miramax release, Musical comedy, sincerity, buoyant spirit, magic, fantasy, reality, enjoyable, musical
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