Anything Else Review

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Veteran stand-up David Dobel (Allen) befriends up-and-coming comedian Jerry Falk (Biggs) and takes him under his wing, teaching him about life, literature, comedy - and how to deal with his unfaithful girlfriend and his needy agent.


More than any woman, New York has remained Woody Allen's main muse and co-star throughout his career, with the director always demonstrating an unashamed adoration for his home city. And yet at the end of Anything Else Allen's character, Dobel, does the unthinkable: he leaves New York.

It has become something of a cliché to classify a film as "post-9/11", yet this phrase has great relevance when it comes to Anything Else. Allen's films have always had a feeling of melancholy to them, but this - the first film Allen has written after the fall of the Twin Towers - harbours a sense of unsettlement amid the neurotic romantic comedy.

Allen also for the first time tackles his Jewishness seriously and, significantly, sidelines himself to being only a secondary character, almost as if he feels too out of place to be the lead. Biggs, essentially playing Allen Jr., does his best, but likeability can't hide his limited range and he struggles where Allen excels, such as in the numerous monologues to camera.

While Biggs deals with girlfriend Ricci's infidelity, the deeper sadness seems to come from New York, Allen's great love, changing and moving on.

It’s a Woody Allen film and so, of course, is interesting viewing,but the disillusionment that has replaced Allen’s usual melancholy optimism means the once-brilliant director is tempered by unease.