A romantic Woody Allen musical?
By JEFFREY Q. IRISH
Scene Movie Critic
Does everyone say "I love you?" Woody Allen thinks so. He wrote, directed and starred in this 1930s style musical about an extended family and its bouts with the most wonderful feeling in the world.
"Everyone says" opens with Ed Norton ("Fight Club") singing "Just you, Just me" to Drew Barrymore ("Ever After") next to a fountain in Central Park. It brings an immediate grin to your face as you remember what it's like to be young and in love as these two most certainly are. The grin rarely leaves your face as you get looks at all the family member's different feelings and confusions of love.
The plot centers around the extended family and each individual's search for love. The deepest love is the friendship between Joe (Woody Allen) and Steffi (Goldie Hawn). They were previously married and have one daughter, DJ, who is the narrator of the film. Steffi has remarried and had two children with a successful businessman named Bob (Alan Alda), who already had two children of his own. Bob's children from the previous marriage are Skylar (Barrymore) and Scott (Luke Haas). Lane (Gabby Hoffman) and Laura (Natalie Portman) are the two middle-school-aged daughters of Bob and Steffi.
Also involved in the love game with a member of the family are Julia Roberts ("Notting Hill") and Tim Roth. All of the actors use their own singing voices (except Drew Barrymore) whether or not they had any training. Goldie Hawn has a wonderful voice, Julia Roberts does not, but it doesn't matter because they are both singing their feelings and that is why "Everyone says" is so amorable.
"Everyone says" is a characteristic Woody Allen film: intelligent, funny, romantic, leftist and set in New York. As an artist, Allen has tried to do films in different genres to challenge his talent; it was only fitting that he attempt a musical. Few modern films employ the classic musical format, only "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Evita" come to mind. "Everyone says" surpasses them in both comedy and romance. All romantic comedies play on the belief that there is that "special someone for you." We watch the boy meet the girl, and then they split up for 60 minutes, and then the resolution is solved usually by the two falling in love. There is something about Allen's bumbling character that makes you connect with him. We feel his frustrations — because everyone says "I love you."
All Scene Stories for Thursday, January 27, 2000