MIGHTY APHRODITE

(1995)
With Woody Allen, Mira Sorvino, Helena Bonham Carter, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Rappaport, David Ogden Stiers, Olympia Dukakis, Jack Warden
Written and Directed by Woody Allen

Reviewed by JB

We can't print what she just offered Woody    MIGHTY APHRODITE has one major thing going for it: Mira Sorvino's engaging turn as Linda Ash - hooker, porn star and biological mother of the child Woody's sportswriter character Lenny has adopted with his wife. Like Marisa Tomei's turn in MY COUSIN VINNY, Sorvino's performance may have been a tad over-rated at the time (she won the award for best supporting actress) but she gives MIGHTY APHRODITE its hook, making it stand out from some lesser entries in the Allen canon.  Tall, gorgeous and tenderly funny, she displays an instant chemistry with the short, peculiar Allen. The film is helped tremendously by this unexpected alliance, as Michael Rappaport as a potential beau has little chemistry with Sorvino and Helena Bonham Carter even less with Allen as his wife.  Be forewarned, however: some of Sorvino's dialogue is atypically sexually graphic for a Woody Allen movie.

     The other striking element of MIGHTY APHRODITE is the anachronistic use of an ancient Greek Chorus as Woody's conscience.  F. Murray Abraham narrates the tale of Lenny's quest to find his son's biological mother, and even pops in on him in modern-day New York to offer advice throughout the film.  Meanwhile, the entire chorus bestows upon Lenny such helpful guidance as "Oh, Lenny!  Don't be a schmuck!".  Together with Sorvino, Abraham and the Greek Chorus turn an average Woody Allen comedy (some laughs, some dull spots, some thoughts on the pointless and chaotic nature of existence) into something more memorable. 3½ - JB

Woody Allen     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


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