Hollywood Ending ★★ 2002 (PG-13)
Allen continues two recent disturbing trends: making mediocre comedies, and making creepy casting choices when picking his female leads. This time he's Val Waxman, a a down-on-his-luck, nuerotic director about ten years past his prime with a hot ex-wife, Ellie (Leoni) who's engaged to a smarmy studio head (Williams). He's also managed to snag a hot dim-bulb wannabe-actress girlfriend (Messing). When Ellie uses her connections to get Val a job directing an “Ode to New York” pic, his hypochodriac tendencies go into haywire and he goes blind. Woody's made some great comedies in the past, and if this was 10-15 years ago, this one might've been great, too. But his overwhelmingly annoying screen persona, and the missed execution of some pretty good setups, this one goes to the forgettable file. Leoni, Williams, and Rydell do well with what they're given. 114m/C VHS, DVD . US Woody Allen, Tea Leoni, Treat Williams, Debra Messing, George Hamilton, Tiffani(-Amber) Thiessen, Mark Rydell, Isaac Mizrahi, Marian Seldes, Peter Gerety, Greg Mottola, Mark Webber, Lu Yu, Barney Cheng, Jodie Markell; D: Woody Allen; W: Woody Allen; C: Wedigo von Schultzendorff.