Anything Else (2003): Woody Allen Comedy Starring Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci

“Anything Else,” Woody Allen’s follow-up to the mediocre comedy “Hollywood Ending,” shows what happens when a vet director is running out of ideas and is desperate to capture the young demographics that now dominate the American market place.

Most of the actors in the large ensemble, which includes Allen, could be age-wise his grandchildren, including Jason Biggs, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Fallon, Adrian Grenier. This would not have been a problem if Allen was able to dig into the way that young individuals think and talk. Instead, he imposed on them his own anxieties and language.

The premise is rather simple: Jason Biggs plays a young New York artist named Jerry Falk, struggling with his career. Danny DeVito plays Falk’s ineffective agent, Harvey, and Woody Allen cast himself as Falk’s mentor, David Dobel, a paranoid juggling a dual career, as a teacher and standup comic.

Work is not the only area in which Falk experiences problems. His relationship with girlfriend Amanda (Christina Ricci) is also troubled, though it was love at first sight.

Amanda, too, has her own share of neuroses, including fear of commitment and intimacy issues, which does not exactly make her fun to be around. Things get worse, when the small flat he shares with Amanda becomes home to a third roommate, Amanda’s mother Paula (Stockard Channing), who has decided to come to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a cabaret singer.

Despite some funny one-liners, the movie feels like a quickie, a mishmash of ideas and situations that were not fully thought out before shooting began. Panned by most critics, “Anything Else” was a commercial flop, grossing a paltry $3.1 million at the box-office.


Running time: 108 Minutes.
Directed, written by Woody Allen