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Melinda and Melinda (PG-13)

Release Date: March 18th (NYC-Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, wider on March 23rd) by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Cast: Will Ferrell,Radha Mitchell,Cloe Sevigny,Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet,Wallace Shawn

Basic Premise: Two writers describe two different stories about a character named Melinda, one tragic and one comic.

Entertainment Value: Radha Mitchell's performance as the two Melindas is exceptional. Will Ferrell is hilarious in the comic side of the story. Woody Allen's script is very well written--full of his usual insane and quirky moments. The structure of the movie from the first dinner scene to the two stories and then back to the dinner scene is very refreshing--especially coming from Woody Allen, who has previously been boring audiences with silly, forgettable movies like Anything Else and Hollywood Ending.

Spiritual Value: This movie has a lot to say about the different ways one can approach life. It all comes down to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Each story is thought provoking and the characters discuss very profound issues about life--such as happiness, loneliness, and love. Watch for an early scene reminiscent of My Dinner with Andre, another deeply thought-provoking movie about life.

Insult to your intelligence: None.

Number of times I checked my watch: 0

The Bottom Line: A very smart, entertaining movie with a talented cast. Woody Allen is back in his top form. The first memorable Woody Allen movie in over a decade.

Recommended Way to Watch: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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