--> "Who are you?"
--> "It's me, Ken!"
--> "... Ken?"
--> "Look at this guy! You created me, now you doesn't recognize me?"

Successful author [[MeaningfulName Harry Block]] has been [[MuseAbuse routinely mining his real life for material]]. After his latest divorce, he's been dating a young fan of his work - who just left him. Now he has to deal with an upcoming trip to his alma mater, and some of his characters start checking up on him in real life. A pretty poignant case of FamilyUnfriendlyAesop follows.


* AChatWithSatan: An AffablyEvil Satan who isn't above PokeThePoodle - he has air conditioning in Hell because "it fucks up the ozone layer!"
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: The Devil.]]
--> "To Evil! It keeps things hummin'."
** Arguably, the main character himself.
* AnAesop: The real Aesop is that we usually don't know when we're happy, and even when we think we're miserable, not everything is bad.
* AuthorAvatar: To some degree, each and every main character from Harry's stories resembles him. He gives up having an Author Avatar in his last story and admits that it's actually AsHimself.
* BlackComedy: One of Harry's stories, "Max's Dark Secret". [[spoiler: Max butchered his family with an axe, then ate them. PlayedForLaughs.]]
-->'''Elsie:''' Whatever you do, first hear Max's side.\\
'''Dolly:''' Max has a side?! [[spoiler: He killed his family and eats them up,]] the man has a side?!
* BrickJoke: One of Harry's (perhaps unfinished) short stories deals with an actor (Mel) going out of focus as he's shooting what appears to be a TV commercial. Later on, [[spoiler: the same thing happens to Harry, in lieu of a panic attack.]]
* TheCameo: Creator/RobinWilliams as the out-of-focus actor, Tobey Maguire as a young AuthorAvatar,
* CanonSue: In-universe: "Ken", the main character in Harry's last novel, comes off as a charming, laidback guy, all too happy to explain what went wrong in Harry's life. He's right every time.
--> '''Harry''': How do you know so much?
--> '''Ken''': Well... I'm just you. Thinly disguised. You gave me a little more maturity. And a different name.
** On the other hand, "Leslie", who is a shrewish fundamentalist in his stories, comes off just as intelligent and insightful.
* ClusterFBomb: Everyone in the film.
* CriticalPsychoanalysisFailure: Joan might have needed a lot of help after [[spoiler: being cheated on with one of her patients]] and getting divorced; we know she [[PunctuatedForEmphasis didn't]] [[ClusterFBomb take it well]].
* DeathByChildbirth: Happened to Harry's mom; his father never quite forgave him for that.
* DrivenToSuicide: "My brains on your fucking carpet!" [[spoiler: Averted in that she thinks she shouldn't kill herself, but Harry.]]
* FunctionalAddict: Harry sees himself as one, as far as booze and anti-anxiety pills are concerned. Other characters don't agree.
* TheFundamentalist: Played with, twice:
** In one of Harry's stories, this is the reason his marriage to [[FlorenceNightingaleEffect his former psychoanalyst]] failed: after the birth of their son, she rediscovered her Jewish roots, became obsessed with faith and tradition, and ended up leaving Harry for a dashing Israeli patient. In real life, though, [[spoiler: Harry cheated on Joan with one of her patients.]]
** Then there's Bert, Harry's brother-in-law; an observant Jew who Harry despises to the point of becoming estranged from his sister. [[spoiler: They later briefly reconnect.]]
--->'''Harry:''' And there he is, direct from the Wailing Wall!
* GallowsHumor: Harry indulges in this. For example, he says the two most wonderful words in the English language are "It's benign."
* GilliganCut:
-->'''The Devil:''' And one thing you're not, is a kidnapper.
-->''(cut to)''
-->'''Joan:''' '''''KIDNAPPER!!!'''''
* HighClassCallGirl: The Asian prostitute in one of the stories-within-a-story.
* HollywoodAtheist: Mostly played for laughs, of the smug variety.
%%* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Cookie.
* IAmAHumanitarian: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9wnNQ1zNB4 "Some bury, some burn, I ate!"]]
%%* IronicHell
* JumpCut: Used during the film [[spoiler: and a clue that the entire film is one of Harry Block's stories.]]
%%* TheLancer: Larry.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Borrow a sick friend's apartment, pretend it's your bachelor pad, use his name to introduce yourself to a HighClassCallGirl... hey, that's TheGrimReaper at the door. And he won't believe you're not the guy.
* MayDecemberRomance: Applied twice. Fay, Harry's last girlfriend, [[spoiler: left him for Larry, who's older than her as well: the key difference here is Larry's positive outlook on life. They're married by the end of the movie.]]
* MeaningfulName: Harry Block, although WritersBlock is just a symptom of his depression.
* MoralityPet: Played with. Harry's very fond of his young son Hilliard, who he enjoys spending time with; too bad all his life lessons to the kid are variations on GoodIsBoring.
* MostWritersAreWriters
* {{Motormouth}}: Harry, naturally, but the Woody Allen yappy character type is deconstructed (naturally!) by a character as being cowardly tap dancing instead of being a man.
%%* MuseAbuse
* PrisonRape: Larry warns Gabe he'll be buggered by every con in jail. The prison guard warns Gabe that if he doesn't bless Larry and Fay's wedding, he'll toss him in a cell and bugger him himself.
* PygmalionPlot: Seems to have played a major role in Harry and Fay's romantic relationship; he considered her "a fan, then a pupil", but in the end he fell in love and she didn't truly reciprocate his feelings. Fay invokes Pygmalion to describe their relationship.
* RecycledInSpace: ''Film/WildStrawberries'' [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: only Darker And Edgier ]]
* ShowWithinAShow: Harry's stories within the film - and then TheReveal that [[spoiler: the entire movie is the new story by Harry about himself.]]
* TheShrink: Joan and her fictional counterpart.
* {{Sidekick}}: Harry's friend and colleague Richard.
* TakeThatMe: Harry's imagination tells him he's a fuckup who misjudges everyone he knows, including his own sister.
* ThereIsAGod: Creator/WoodyAllen's character, an atheist, uses this in reference to Bobby Thomson's game-winning home run in the 1951 National League playoffs. "When he hit that home run it was the only hint I had that there may be a God."
* UncomfortableElevatorMoment: Joan's poor patient deals with her going batshit insane, screaming at Harry in the next room with {{Cluster F Bomb}}s.
* UnproblematicProstitution: Played with: Cookie comes off as a self-assured, reasonably content sex worker, who acceps Harry's offer of [[spoiler: money in exchange for accompanying him to his old college]] even if she met him a couple hours before (and therefore has no idea whether he could posit a danger to her). She's also treated far more nicely than any other female character in-universe.
--> '''Harry''': Every hooker I ever speak to tells me that it beats the hell out of waitressing. Waitressing's gotta be the worst fucking job in the world.
* VillainousBSOD: Once the group arrive at Harry's alma mater, [[spoiler: they find out his friend Richard - who they thought was simply dozing off - has died in his sleep, presumably of a heart attack; Harry panics and briefly goes out of focus.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Happens at least twice, with characters from Harry's stories ("Ken" and "Helen", the latter being a mix between his ex-wife and his sister) lecturing him on the mistakes he made in his personal life.
* WholePlotReference: The film is similar to ''Film/WildStrawberries'' and ''Film/EightAndAHalf'', in that it is about a professor in the former and an artist in the latter struggling with his current relationships and remembering his old ones, interspersed with dream sequences, as well as his work being based on events from his life.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: [[invoked]] With almost no exception, Harry's characters are thinly-veiled versions of people he knows; considering in real life he's a bit of a MagnificentBastard, every time he's got a new novel out, at least one of his personal relationships goes ''very'' sour.
--> "And of course there's Jane, or, as you pathetically disguised her... ''Janet''."
** Even he occasionally can't tell the difference between real life and fiction.
--> '''Lucy''': Oh big fucking deal, you gave her large breasts!
--> '''Harry''': Leslie, please...
--> '''Lucy''': ''Lucy''. I'm Lucy, motherfucker. ''Not'' Leslie.
* YourCheatingHeart: In his own words, Harry's cheated on each and every one of his wives.