Are you the type of person who laughs at funerals, guffaws at road side accidents, or pisses yourself silly whilst seeing some twat jump out of a bloody window? If not, then please watch this 100 minute movie made in 2005. It was Directed by Woody Allen; and Starred: Radha Mitchell, Will Ferrell, Amanda Chloë, Steve Carell, Chloë Sevigny, with Jonny Lee Miller.
Melinda and Melinda
Picture the scene. Four friends are huddled around a small table situated in a coffee shop, speaking about life and the causes of existence. Now person 1 sees life as a tragedy. Person 2 see life as a comedy. Person 3 acts as the mediator. And person 4 tells them all a tale, which in turn, prompts person 1 and 2 to try to interpret it in their own amiable way.
Well, Melinda is a troubled soul you see. A very troubled soul. Because in recent months she has broken up with her husband, separated from her lover, and lost custody of her children in the process.
Don't you worry, though, folks. Obviously feeling sorry for her plight, Laurel and her close friend, Cassie (Brooke Smith), try to arrange a date for Melinda, by hosting another dinner party, where she can then meet a sweet new dentist.
However, I'm afraid to say that this plan doesn't seem to pan in the way Laurel hoped it would. Because instead of Melinda falling for the dentist, what she ends up doing is falling for the pianist playing at the party. A pianist named Ellis (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
Admittedly, at first this union appears to be doing just fine under its own steam. He accepts her philandering past, whilst she grows stronger just by being in his presence. Unfortunately, though, during this said same time period, Melinda's sister, Laurel, grows despondent with her actor husband -- Lee -- whom she suspects is having an affair behind her back (he is). Worst still, one day she starts having feelings for Ellis too. Spearheaded when Melinda, Ellis, and herself, go out together to a concerto.
Oh my God! What a tragic set of circumstances that is! Or is it?
Don't you worry, though, folks. Cause a few days later, Hobie bumps into Melinda bright and well, and asks her to go out to the races with him and his pal, Walt (Steve Carrell).
Thankfully, she accepts. And they all spend a rather nice evening together, loosing money and winning love at every toss of a pony.
Yes. That's right. I said 'love'. Hobie falls in love with Melinda you see. And even though he does not express this to her in verbal terms, his wife, Susan, suspects something is amiss, and tries to set-up Melinda with a new dentist friend of hers.
However, I'm afraid to say this ‘date’ doesn't really go according to plan. Prompting Hobie to use Melinda's singleton life to grow closer and closer to her, whilst distancing himself from Susan at the same time.
Ha! You got to laugh! Or do you?
Quite some time ago I watched a documentary which touched upon the subject matter conveyed within this film, 'Melinda and Melinda'. If I remember rightly, there was a scene in it, in which the English comedian, Spike Milligan, tried to pose a theory that stated comedy can only exist within tragedy after the event, and not during the event. Now the example Spike gave was about Admiral Lord Nelson, and how everyone laughs about his disfigurements nowadays, but at the time, there was nothing amusing about it at all.
Therefore, tragedy + time = comedy.
Woody Allen, saw this clip too (because he's also a big Spike Milligan fan). And this is most probably why he decided to put this theory to the test within this cinematic landscape.
Overall I'd say 'Melinda and Melinda' was a mixed bag of fish. The good parts were good. The bad parts were annoying. Yet at the end of the day it's well worth a watch if you're the type of person who's interested in the whole comedy / tragedy dilemma.