Woody Allen directing and starring in a musical. It‘s as shaky a premise as it sounds, and not everything in Everyone Says I Love You sticks, a film that boasts an incredible cast but not much in the way of plot elements, pulls together. With its only real stand out being some brief moments of Woody Allen singing (not because he’s good, but because it’s laughably strange), we’re given yet another standard Allen styling of film, only this time with a vocal range.
I never thought Allen could be outshined in his own film, especially when he pairs himself with the ever talented and enjoyable Julia Roberts. Perhaps the problem here is that, for what began as a leading storyline, it soon gets relegated to the backseat. Suffering from too many eggs in one basket, the talent on screen is certainly impressive, but their lacking involvement with anything bigger than their own few scenes is a sad shame and feels like a true waste.
Alan Alda gives a knockout performance, his few collaborations with Woody Allen through the late 80s and into the 90s provide some of his best work. In this, he plays Bob Danridge, a head of the wealthy Danridge family. He has scenes of complete disaster, losing grasp on his head of the house role and routine. Not nearly given enough screen time, Alda does well in a supporting role to a much less interesting story. Still, it’s nice to see him and Goldie Hawn of all people have some enjoyable chemistry with one another. He surrounds a family that, as a unit, comes together well but on their own crumbles into mediocrity in the storytelling and writing departments.
What truly is a shame is how unequivocally dull the musical numbers are. None of them stick out and all are truly forgettable pieces of music. A shame too given that the premise of this film ties in so tightly with the basis and principles of a musical number. They aren’t poorly performed, the film introduced me to the fact that Edward Norton has some incredibly strong singing chops on him, but everyone else faulters slightly.
A more standard affair, burrowing out of the mid-1990s like a badger of cliché and melodrama, it follows several different stories that collide together in typical Allen style. There are a charming handful of lines, with the Alan Alda storyline in particular not getting enough time to develop (yet still being the best part of the film). Instead we get caterings of slapstick and our regular, late 90s Allen writing where he places himself in scenes he has no real business being in.
Completely harmless, and if anything, it’s a little ineffective as a piece of Allen’s work. The closest we’ll ever get to Allen tackling politics is him comparing Republicanism to a brain injury, and that may be the only thing Everyone Says I Love You is even remotely memorable for. A completely forgettable piece of Allen’s filmography, and somehow less interesting than I was expecting. Still, harmless is better than boring, and that’s about as big a compliment I can give this one.