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A character driven story filled with uninteresting, unrealistic, unlikeable characters.
The people from the present are all insufferably cliché in varying ways, from the pseudo-intellectual university lecturer, to the American in-law with political views from a Fox News Teleprompter, to the fiancee of the main character who, of course, doesn't understand him.

The people from the past, on the other hand, are not so much unbearable as one-dimensional. Even the interesting ones are static; as if the characters themselves are playing a role. The strangeness of it pulls you out of the story like some kind of narrative special effects failure. The stars of the past don't seem so much like people as literary CGI.

And then there's the main character. I just couldn't wrap my head around why all these spectacular luminaries were in any way interested in him. He wasn't fun, or gregarious, or insightful (in spite of how much the film tried to convince us otherwise), he was just a whiny, meek, boring little man wallowing in his own ennui.

I've heard this called writer porn, and I can definitely see why. In fact, I was in total agreement with the assertion until the mildly suprising plot twist where Allen managed to extract some real insight from the story. The epiphany was forced and rather banal, but set against the turgidity of the rest of the film, it was satisfying.

Conclusion: The film was boring and rather predictable, but is somewhat redeemed by Woody Allen's talent.

C'est la vie.
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