Movie Reviews
3:58 pm
Mon May 13, 2002

Hollywood Ending

"Hollywood Ending" may start out looking like Woody's going to crash and burn again, but stay with it because... well because you're going to love its Hollywood ending.

Woody's back and sizzling in "Hollywood Ending." Though die-hard Woody fans may think I exaggerate, I think he's never been better. Relying more on sight-gags and slap-stick shticks than ever before, his quick-quips and sharp dialogue sparkles like an opening night on the Great White Way.

Be forewarned, however, "Hollywood Ending" starts as slowly as an overloaded fright train. But when it finally gets up to speed, it's all shake, rattle, and roll.

Playing his own persona as a New York movie director gone flat, Woody's come-back break is engineered by T?a Leoni, who plays Woody's ex-wife.

Seems she headed out to the West Coast, a la "Annie Hall" and hooked up with a smoothie Hollywood studio head, perfectly played by Treat Williams.

From there on in you're watching Hollywood history, folks.

When the opening night audience at the Drexel finally got into the film (or the film got into them) the laughter started rolling in like the Coney Island surf in one of those East Coast legendary storms.

Leoni is a classy-lassie, but she gets caught in the shadows of Woody's bravura performance. Treat Williams, however, as her producer-lover has been perfectly cast and perfectly plays the role. Too bad he doesn't have more screen time.

The rest of the casting is good, but not good enough to make this movie what it could have been... Woody's best movie ever.

The other stand-out in the movie in a minor supporting role is Woody's on-set translator for the movie-within-a-movie's cinematographer (who can't for the life of himself figure out what Woody wants from him.)

The rest of the gag -- this won't ruin it for you -- is that good old Woody, who can't take the stress of possibly failing, arrives on set the very first day traumatically blinded.

"Hollywood Ending" may start out looking like Woody's going to crash and burn again, but stay with it because... well because you're going to love its Hollywood ending.

And an additional bonus... that Hollywood ending will drive the French crazy.