Starring: Woody Allen, Mary Steenburgen, Mia Farrow
Director: Woody Allen
Running Time: 88 mins
A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy is an American film about three couples who meet for a weekend in the country on the eve of one of their weddings, but over the course of the weekend, old romances and rivalries reignite, as everybody attempts to sneak around behind everyone else’s backs.
You know Woody Allen’s perspectives on life and love, and as much as that sharp point of view has made for some of all-time classics (Annie Hall, Manhattan etc.), it does make for a rather predictable and one-dimensional watch when it comes to A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. Despite some entertaining performances across the board, as well as a good few laughs here and there, it’s far from Allen’s most incisive and interesting work, coming across as simple fun, but little more.
Let’s start off on the bright side, with the fact that this movie is a fairly enjoyable watch throughout, regardless of its relative lack of depth. Above all, the performances are excellent, and while Allen plays his typically neurotic and anxious character, Mary Steenburgen, Mia Farrow and Jose Ferrer in particular impress in performances that bring a few more layers to their characters.
In that, the whole film focuses on the farce of relationships and love, as despite the perceived perfection and stability of some relationships, there’s always some animalistic instinct bubbling away, furthered by a depressing but still very human lack of interest in keeping things going when there’s something new and exciting in view.
As I said, it’s a theme that Allen has touched upon time and time again, but it’s something that he generally does very well, and in making a total farce out of the idea in this film, he makes for some very entertaining comedy, as well as a handful of genuinely funny comedic set-pieces, all of which come together to make A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy an easy-going and pleasant watch.
However, when the film tries to push its main theme a little more, and make you reflect a little more on the nature of love and relationships, it doesn’t quite manage to create the same emotional depth and intrigue that some of Allen’s better works have.
Although it’s a clear point right from the start, everything about the movie seems a little bit too obvious, and when it becomes apparent about halfway through that the main joke is that everybody is having an affair with someone else, things do get a little boring, and a little repetitive.
Throw in a couple of quirky moments – particularly with Allen’s wacky inventor character – and you’ve got a fun and characterful movie, but it’s not one that does its best to create an equally interesting watch, suffering from its deliberately farcical nature and coming off as a little too on-dimensional, which is why I’m giving it a 7.1 overall.