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Rated PG-13 · 106 minutes
Woody Allen's first real audience film after Annie Hall represented a functional if limited solution to his eternal difficulties in reconciling his “serious” aspirations with his comic abilities (1986). Essentially, it's a remake of Interiors—a more or less straightly played drama about three sisters and their romantic entanglements—intercut with satirical bits that could have come out of one of Allen's earliest films, centered on his reactions as a TV producer who learns he may have a fatal disease. There's no real resonance between the two halves of the film (the plots cross only for the somewhat arbitrary climax), yet Allen keeps things moving quickly enough that the film only reveals its basic shapelessness once it's over. Allen's way of setting himself up as a fount of moral wisdom is as insufferable as ever, but at least the preachiness is alleviated by some genuine wit. The wildly mixed cast includes Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Lloyd Nolan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Daniel Stern, Max von Sydow, and Dianne Wiest. 106 min.

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