Rainer's Review of A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy


  • 18 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
    A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

    A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)

    A rural chamber play in the early 1900s.

    For A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Woody Allen assembled six actors to play three couples in relationship havoc on a weekend before the wedding of one of the couples at a summer house in the country (somewhere in rural New York I guess).

    These three couples consist of:
    1. Woody Allen and Mary Steenburgen, not so happily married
    2. José Ferrer and Mia Farrow, engaged despite a huge age difference
    3. Tony Roberts and Julie Hagerty, a physician and his nurse/mistress

    Basically, it's Woody-style first-world problems transferred in the early 1900s with some (distracting) fantastical elements and a Felix Mendelssohn soundtrack (who composed music for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream including the famous Wedding March, you know...).

    The whole film turns out to be some anti-version of a novel of manners. With a similar premise to the genre but more sex and less manners. Everybody is sexually frustrated and carries a secret in some way. They're all a bit crazy too. And eccentric.
    It's fun to watch José Ferrer as an arrogant philosopher with a fiancée half his age, and it's also fun to watch Woody Allen as an eccentric stock broker/inventor (e.g. of a flying bicycle that actually works). Mia Farrow on the other hand, was nominated for a Razzie for a good reason.
    Allen's dialogue unveils acting-weaknesses with ferocity, that's probably why he always assembles such wonderful casts, and while Farrow never really distracted me before, in their later colloborations, she's pretty bad in here.

    All in all, the title already tells us everything we need to know. It's mid-summer and it's a comedy about sex. It's highly diverting, you won't believe you fast time flies past and beside the utterly silly ending that almost made me downgrade it, it's a neat flick.

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