Dylan Jones: Man about town

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The Independent Online

I was in New York last week for a meeting, and through no fault of my own – honest, I'm popular, no, really, even now – I had nothing particular to do on Monday night. I asked the concierge to find me a ticket for Jerusalem, this, I thought, being the obvious way to spend an evening alone in Manhattan. But I had totally forgotten that Broadway is "dark" on Mondays, so I had to slope off and see a film instead.

I did what I hadn't done for a very long time. I sloped off to see a Woody Allen film. Until a few weeks ago, I thought I might never say those words again – in my not-so-humble opinion Woody hasn't made a good film in 20 years – but the reviews for Midnight in Paris had been so fulsome I thought it was worth the risk.

I traipsed off to the Angelika Film Centre on West Houston, which, along with that funny little place near the church in Chelsea whose name I can never remember, is one of the best cinemas in Lower Manhattan, and hoped for the best.

And Woody Allen's 41st feature film? Well, having started off promisingly, taking us on a whiplash tour of Paris during the title sequence, it soon turns into an almost glacial meditation on our futile love affair with the past, and is no more than a B-minus at best.

As usual, the most fun is to be had watching the protagonist's impersonation of Allen, and in this respect Owen Wilson does a pretty good job (maybe the best acting job of his career). As with John Gardner, Kingsley Amis or Sebastian Faulks trying to imitate Ian Fleming, no one does Woody like Woody himself. Only problem is, not only can he no longer do it himself – he hasn't been able to do it for years.



Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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