The Woody Allen Tourist: Melinda and Melinda (2004)

I never thought I’d see the day where Will Ferrell and Steve Carell are in a Woody Allen movie. Well, okay, sure Woody makes romantic comedies and that’s not too far from their wheelhouse, but still. No one remembers that anyone of note was in Melinda and Melinda. But the actors shouldn’t take offence, the movie should. Am I saying that Melinda and Melinda is a bad film? Nope, definitely not.

I just can’t tell you how tired I am of watching Woody Allen films. My brain hurts. I have no idea what’s really anymore. Everything’s an existential, post-modern neurotic nightmare and I can’t tell the difference between reality and Allen’s films. Except I know for certain reality has more than one race FFS.

Melinda and Melinda (2004)

The Woody Allen Tourist: Melinda and Melinda (2004) |
© 2004 Fox Searchlight

Melinda and Melinda is something of a storytelling experiment. Two playwrights sit at a table in a New York restaurant. One is a comic writer, one is a tragic writer. These facts reflect each playwright’s entire outlook on life. A Friends sits down at the table and explains a scenario: A woman arrives at a diner party unannounced. The first playwright sees it as a tragedy, and the other sees its hilarity. Thus begins Melinda’s (the uninvited dinner party guest) journey through a life of comedy, and simultaneously tragic.

Two Worlds, One Girl

You can’t fault the seamlessness in the way the story unfolds, it’s perfectly written. The audience knows what narrative they are following at any given time and he didn’t need her to drastically change her hair cut (I’m looking at you Sliding Doors (1998) to achieve this. And a lot of the plot points are similar: Melinda starts living with a couple (kind of, but maybe not) in both narratives. She is jobless and looking for one, she has attempted suicide, her friends want to set her up with an eligible man they know, and the couple she lives with have a strained relationship and eventually cheat on each other and break up.

So the storyline was superb and is more than enough to hold up everything else, but the negatives… Well, the characters were pieces of soggy bread a lot of the time, clinging to half-assed dreams and spending the majority of the movie as jobless creatives yet still living in lavish apartments and not making any notion as to how this is the case. The colour palette resembles that of clouds on a drizzly day and I do not care one iota who ends up with who (cue another Everyone Says I Love You (1996)) so why should I finish the movie? I did of course, and I wasn’t surprised one bit by either. One is Blue Jasmine (2013) and the other is Magic in the Moonlight (2014). There’s no denying Woody Allen can write comedy and tragedy, he just can’t do it an endless number of ways. But apparently, he thinks he can. He must be on his 7 billionth film by now.

New York, New York

And finally, just one more thing to add. Woody Allen can you please stop writing films if they are about RICH WHITE PEOPLE LIVING IN NEW YORK. It’s not even funny anymore. We DO NOT need any more of those films. I don’t care if that’s all you can write about half the time, some are great, good for you. So can we just LEAVE IT AT THAT. Great thanks bye.

Have you ever seen Melinda and Melinda? Did you enjoy it? Do you want Woody Allen to just STOP?

Want MORE?

The Woody Allen Tourist: Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

The Woody Allen Tourist: Bullets Over Broadway (1995)

Films that will make you want to travel

The Woody Allen Tourist: Midnight in Paris (2010)

The Woody Allen Tourist: Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

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The Woody Allen Tourist: Melinda and Melinda (2004) |
© 2004 Fox Searchlight


I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

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