NEW YORK – Anything more and the excessive laughter would make my stomach hurt. Woody Allen has managed to keep the audience laughing out loud while sneaking in a few morality issues and typical Woody Allen moments in his latest release, “Anything Else.”
Casting Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci to appeal to a younger, hipper audience, Allen has aimed at a new demographic rather than at his classic older generation, which has been watching his films religiously throughout their lives.
Woody Allen’s character, David Dobel, is a full-time mentor to Jerry Falk (Biggs). Their interactions become much more father-son-like, or should I grandfather-grandson-like, as David advises Jerry on everything from career pursuits and self-confidence to masturbation. Nonetheless, his recommendations focus on Jerry’s love interest, Amanda (Ricci).
Together, Biggs and Ricci play the struggling couple role quite naturally. The film brings up issues to which the average couple can relate, including blindness to each other’s faults, inconsiderate behavior and infidelity. Biggs easily fits the role of the young, naive Jewish boy whose compassion and money is totally taken advantage of by the hot, wonton Amanda.
In a recent Hatchet interview, Jason Biggs spoke about his time on set with the legendary Woody Allen.
With Allen’s classic mark on every scene, Biggs pointed out that he was able to see “(New York City) through the eyes of Woody,” as filming brought him to various beautiful locales that seemed to qualify the city as “another character” in and of itself.
The title of the film is also fitting. “Anything Else,” appears to be Woody’s take on life. To him, relationships are like anything else; there are ups and downs, you mess up, you get screwed and you move on. As Biggs says, “Woody is exciting to work with. He is brutally honest as a director (and) doesn’t dance around his notes.”
As far as his career is concerned, Biggs said “Anything Else” is “the best thing (he’s) done.”
It wasn’t shocking to learn that sarcasm was the rule on the movie set. Biggs said that while “Woody was quite engaging, (the) frail, little man would stalk (him) with sarcastic notes” after rehearsal, criticizing his acting.
Throughout filming Biggs honed his ability to pick up on some of Woody’s character traits by, “essentially, channeling Woody’s voice.” Biggs added that he had to make an extra effort to step back and add his own jazz to the character, as opposed to merely reproducing Woody Allen. Nevertheless, the young actor does a spookily accurate imitation of Woody.
“Anything Else” can surely be counted among Allen’s list of great works. It provides the laughs as well as his trademark critical evaluation of life.
And by the way, ladies, Biggs happens to be on the prowl for a non-Hollywood girl at the moment, so keep your eyes peeled