Mighty Aphrodite

This might be said to bear the same relationship to Woody Allen’s other comedies as September bears to his other dramaswhich is another way of saying it’s somewhere near the bottom (1995). In its opening moments, it’s sufficiently self-serving to take a swipe at Mia Farrow for her desire to adopt children, and after thatwhen the Allen hero decides to track down the mother of his adopted son, who proves to be (surprise, surprise) a bimbo prostitute (Mira Sorvino) with a heart of goldAllen gets a chance to unload all his usual patronizing contempt for and middle-class wisdom about his own working-class origins. His combined awe and nervousness about high art translates itself here into a Greek chorus (speaking in New York vernacular) complete with ancient amphitheater that only made me hunger for the more honest vulgarity of Mel Brooks. I heard a lot of laughter around me when I previewed this, but something tells me that if Woody Allen decided to portray himself as a thoughtful ax murderer, as long as all his victims lived in Brooklyn his affectionate constituency would probably remain intact. With Helena Bonham Carter, Olympia Dukakis, Jack Warden, and F. Murray Abraham. (JR)

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