In 1996, Woody Allen decided to write and direct his first musical comedy, which happens to be this overwhelmingly charming piece of work.
Set across New York, Paris, and Venice, this is a look at a large group of comfortably well off people and their various romantic endeavors, both successful and otherwise. Taking a different approach compared to a lot of musicals, Allen decided to take the approach of common people just randomly breaking into song and (sometimes) dance numbers. As a result, most of the cast do their own singing, with the exception being Drew Barrymore who convinced Allen she had no musical ability whatsoever. Apparently Goldie Hawn may have been dubbed as well, supposedly because Allen told her that her singing was too good, and she should sing worse, as she sounded too good to seem like like a regular person breaking into song.
Having some musical training myself, I must say, the cast do a good job. Alan Alda and Edward Norton are pretty terrific, Tim Roth is surprisingly decent, and everyone else proves moderately passable at the very least.
And there is a star studded cast here. Aisde from who I've already mentioned, there's also Woody himself, Natasha Lyonne, Julia Roberts, Gaby Hoffmann, Natalie Portman, lukas Haas, and, very briefly, Liv Tyler and Billy Crudup. If there's anyone I missed, I'm sorry.
The performances in general are fine, pretty much what you'd expect from this kind of thing. The story and style are typical of Woody, but, having it be a musical elevates the proceedings.
The song and dance numbers are well staged and executed, especially the final dance, and, in general, this is a very funny, fun, and charming film that is really kinda hard to dislike. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't, by and large, a standout entry of Woody's filmography, but there's just something about it that I found to be really irresistible, so yeah, give it a watch.