Episodic in structure, this Woody Allen comedy reminds you that the filmmaker once wrote TV sketches for Sid Caesar in the 1950s. Most of the characters are archetypes (the put-upon bureaucrat, the brassy prostitute, the grumpy old hypochondriac), yet Allen treats them with genuine affection and avoids the bitterness (not to mention the overwhelming sense of class privilege) that's marred much of his recent work. In another pleasant change of pace, all the big-name actors (among them Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, and Roberto Benigni) seem comfortable enough with Allen’s dialogue to make it their own--which is especially satisfying since most of the one-liners are funny this time around. In English and subtitled Italian.
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