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USA 1982
Directed by
Woody Allen
88 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, A

If you deleted A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy from Woody Allen's C.V. it would make absolutely no difference at all.  A kind of hybridization of the costume comedy that was Love And Death (1975) and one of his Manhattan comedies like Annie Hall (1977) but without the absurdity of the one or the poignancy of the other, the film is strictly marking time for Allen and filling time for the audience with nothing new in form or content with the exception of a spinning metal ball that connects with the spirit world, a presage of later films in which the director showcases his love of magic.

A loose reworking of Bergman’s 1955 sex comedy Smiles Of A Summer Night the story concerns a weekend party on the upstate New York farm of crackpot inventor Andrew (Allen) and his wife, Adrianne (Mary Steenburgen). They are celebrating the impending marriage of Adrianne’s  cousin, a pompous academic (José Ferrer) and Ariel (Mia Farrow, in the first film that she made with Allen). Also visiting are Maxwell (Tony Roberts) a skirt-chasing doctor and his sexually-liberated nurse, Dulcy (Julie Hagerty)

Whereas Bergman’s film was a deftly-crafted satire of bourgeois mores and the double standards Allen's  film is an occasionally amusing bucolic farce about frustrated desires with characters togged up in Edwardian gear but who all seem to be out of 1970s Manhattan having al fresco meals and walks in the wood and play sexual musical chairs as Mendlessohn plays on the soundtrack.

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy is pleasant enough fare but in the context of Allen’s career, inconsequential.




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