Melinda and Melinda (Dir Woody Allen/2004)
Great concept - confused execution. Four filmmakers discuss how tragedies and comedies are not mutually exclusive before proceeding to tell two stories about Melinda (Radha Mitchell). They are the same story initially, but are told as tragedy and comedy. Melinda interrupts a meal, but as the story progresses, the chosen genre dictates a different direction. Unfortunately, the comedy isn’t funny enough (despite a quirky scene, harking back to Woody Allen’s early comedies, as Will Ferrell struggles with a dressing-gown caught in a door), while the tragedy doesn’t have the heart to challenge your emotions. The experimental starting point of Melinda & Melinda demands your attention – but rather than compare, it simply becomes two stories with a similar central character. Attempted-suicide (in the comedy) and murder (in the tragedy) can be comedic or tragic depending on the tone, but in Melinda & Melinda, it isn’t clear what tone to settle upon.