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USA 1971
Directed by
Woody Allen
82 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


Woody Allen's second directorial outing, a low budget affair written by him with Mickey Rose, starts off well enough with Allen in characteristic schlemiel form as Fielding Mellish a products tester for a New York marketing research company. In his desperation to get laid he hits on college student and political activist Nancy (Louise Lasser) when she asks him to sign a petition in support of freedom fighters in San Marcos, a fictional Latin American dictatorship. Nancy dumps him and in order to win her back Mellish decides to go to San Marcos. From that point the film spirals outward in an farrago of absurdity and physical comedy that is at best only intermittently funny.

Although the opening scene in which real-life TV sports commentator Howard Cosell, talks us through the assassination of  a Latin-American president is a clever spoof of TV journalism in typical style Allen over-plays the joke in the closing scene in which Cosell provides the commentary for  Fielding consummating his marriage with Nancy. So underwhelming is the film that possibly itss most memorable feature is that it provided a small role for Sylvester Stallone as a street lout.

One often hear people claiming to love Allen’s early work but frankly he was just finding his mojo here and his best work was yet to come.




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