MATCH POINT (Woody Allen). 124 minutes. Opens Friday (January 20). For venues and times, see Movies, page 90. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Why is everyone hailing Match Point as a return to form for Woody Allen ? Too many people give too much credit to Allen for his "serious" films, and not enough are familiar with Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy, of which this latest from Allen is an uncredited gloss.
Ambitious young climber ( Jonathan Rhys-Myers ) comes to the big city, marries into a rich family ( Emily Mortimer ), and just as things seem to be going well, his working-class mistress ( Scarlett Johansson ) shows up pregnant and insistent. Things don't go well.
Match Point is also an unacknowledged remake of Crimes And Misdemeanors, which addresses the same problem of an awkward mistress and proposes a similar fate for its protagonist, probably telling us more about Allen than he'd like. The cast is bland aside from Johansson, who's just as annoying as her character should be.
His move to London hasn't actually refreshed Allen - it's just given his non-comic film a different accent. And while Match Point is visually clean, it lacks the feel for that city that has consistently marked his New York films. Two hours is awfully long for a Woody Allen movie, too.