This time Woody Allen’s irresolute, neurotic, and masochistic stand-in protagonist is Alice Tate (Mia Farrow), a very upscale housewife and lapsed Catholic with an unappreciative husband (William Hurt). She goes to a Chinese herbalist for a bad back and gets more than she bargained forincluding hypnosis and a magic potion that makes her invisiblewhich finally pushes her into having a tentative affair with a musician (Joe Mantegna). The thematic sources this time appear to be Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits and Topper, although when the heroine briefly sprints off to India to join Mother Teresa, Allen borrows a clip from Louis Malle’s Calcutta. Weak and predictable, this comedy differs from earlier Allen forays only in that its ethnocentric limitations are more glaring than usual: the Chinese sage, played by one of Charlie Chan’s number one sons (Keye Luke), is encouraged to speak a kind of pidgin English that would have been offensive even in the 30s, and needless to say, we hear a lot of Limehouse Blues on the sound track. As usual, there are many good actors present in small rolesincluding Blythe Danner, Bob Balaban, and Gwen Verdonand they’re invariably wasted (1990). (JR)

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