Celebrity (1998)

Once you get past the icky first ten minutes (which include Melanie Griffith as a movie star who throws herself sexually at Kenneth Branagh’s Woody Allen stand-in of a character), the rest of this little comedy is surprisingly entertaining. Woody Allen’s movies aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but the more injurious elements of his oeuvre are absent here: The focus is primarily on a variety of top Hollywood talent having fun playing variations of celebrities, and while Branagh is saddled as Allen-lite, he’s at least well-matched by Judy Davis, who turns in quite a performance here. The supporting cast is, of course, extraordinary, in particular Joe Mantegna and Charlize Theron. The black-and-white cinematography manages to romanticize a modern New York City as though it were living vintage art, and the movie weaves a nice, understated spell.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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