Written by / 10/01/2016 / No comments /

ALLEN IN THE FAMILY: WOODY'S SITCOM 'CRISIS IN SIX SCENES'

Elaine May, Woody Allen with Miley Cyrus YEAR: 2016
"A fugitive is eating my chicken," sums up Woody Allen's entire Online-Streaming Situation-Comedy for Amazon Prime members....

Taking place in the "turbulent 1960's" and involving a hippie renegade played by, of all people, Miley Cyrus, hiding-out in a suburban household – one thing learned from CRISIS IN SIX SCENES is the Left could easily live their ultimate dream and finally rid the world of the Right altogether because, with the difference of your typical "Lazy Limousine Liberal" type or the registered Everyday Blue Collar Democrat verses the Underground Revolutionaries, either changing the government through a voting booth or with a homemade bomb and a shotgun, they have enough to argue and debate on their very own without needing anyone to oppose them but themselves: Think of a world where the 1990's era triangulating Bill Clinton and socialist Bernie Sanders squared off...

Elaine May and Woody Allen
The only problem is, after a while, people who all, deep down, believe in the exact same thing are not that interesting (plus, the recycled hippie culture storyline, in repeating its own tired mantra, again and again, has lost its mystique)...

Not that Allen's character, a struggling has-been novelist ironically trying to pitch a TV series, doesn't have a few semi-funny lines, especially after rapid-firing quips like Edward G. Robinson handles a TommyGun. And his wife, played by SMALL TIME CROOKS scene-stealer Elaine May, is the more open-minded, polite, quirky moral-compass Edith Bunker type to Woody's cynical Archie Bunker, and while ALL IN THE FAMILY is what SCENES is obviously influenced by, the main character doesn't have enough involving arguments or bitterness to oppose this show's Meathead in Miley's political-ranting escaped-convict other than, "A fugitive is eating my chicken." Okay, folks, prepare to laugh your heads off: She eats his shrimp as well.

The reboot of BANANAS! Grade: C
The perpetual bickering is just too forced, feeling like a reason for particular views and ideals to be discussed in the first place, and it's not all Miley's fault, despite the fact she's the easiest target to blame. Sure, the poor girl's not nearly a good enough actress to spout dialogue written by Woody Allen... But the other main side-character... a dull, chubby college boy friend-tenant, serving as a young-Woody type, falling hopelessly for the Far-Left babe and learning to worship Fidel Castro ala Allen and Louise Lasser in BANANAS... makes Hannah Montana seem like Annie Hall. And to spice things up, a safe seat, girl-next-door fiancee is thrust upon this guy's character from the very start to make a possible tryst with Cyrus more risqué, but with these dullards as the subjects of a possible whirlwind romance, it just doesn't mesh... at all.

Meanwhile, in order to work as a binge-worthy serial, the only other thing really "on the line," i.e. to keep the viewer interested, is the possibility of Woody and Elaine's characters getting caught for harboring a fugitive, and jailed. But at this point, they're both so old and frail, hardly able to move around comfortably, or spout their constant diatribes of neurosis, it's most likely the judge would let them off with sympathy. Proving that Risk is wasted on the young, and that Woody was much better when he had something to lose, and more than one limited actress to keep partially disagreeing with. Not like the art of detesting his own contemporaries is anything new: From ANNIE HALL to CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, he battled pretentious intellectuals. But for three whole hours instead of ninety-minutes, it's way too much for the senses to take.
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