For Reel

A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982)
October 10, 2016, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Woody Allen
2.5 Stars
a-midsummer-nights-sex-comedyWhile Interiors can be regarded simply as a pale imitation of Ingmar Bergman, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy is less specific in its homage but feels similarly inert, with Woody Allen’s insistence on imitation overpowering his own narrative voice. The homages to Jean Renoir and Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night are there, but the film mostly plays as Allen’s take on an Eric Rohmer film in that it tests relationships in the idyllic countryside, the frame often composed of lush greens with sunlight pouring through the foliage. It ranks among Allen’s most visually beautiful films, ironically serving as a counterpoint to Allen’s general disinterest in the country. Among the film’s biggest misgivings is that it is consumed by its males—all egotists who become hopelessly jealous of one another despite their own good fortunes. The woman are the objects to pine over, defined only by the complications they cause. An exception is a late scene in which Mary Steenburgen develops a sudden insatiable sexual appetite (the only moment in which the erotic is of any dramatic interest), but otherwise both Allen’s perversions and comic voice are castrated by the material.

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