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USA 1972
Directed by
Herbert Ross
87 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Play It Again, Sam

This nicely crafted film, adapted from his own stage play, is one of Allen's funniest comedies, dealing with, as usual, the neuroses and sense of sexual inadequacy of his alter ego, here named Allen Felix. Whilst the part is entirely dependent on Allen's screen persona perhaps that fact that it had already been honed in a theatre setting and that it was not directed by Allen saves this from the silliness that characterises the director's films to this date (and some after).

Allen plays a newly-divorced film writer whose friends, a married couple (played by the director's then girlfriend, Diane Keaton, and Tony Roberts, who would appear in many of Allen's subsequent films), try to set him up with a variety of women, with disastrous results. As always with Allen there is more than a trace of the juvenilely salacious in his sexual preoccupations, a tendency which produces an astonishing ill-advised rape joke in which Keaton willingly partakes (as she does also in  the "I love Dick" lines at the film's end). This immaturity is nevertheless considerably offset by his undeniable mastery of self deprecating humour, and entertainingly balanced by some first class sight gags and the natty concept of involving that paragon of screen cool, Humphrey Bogart, and that most iconic of all Hollywood romances, Casablanca (1942), into the story.




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