The patient displays paranoid behavior, but then what do you expect from a Woody Allen comedy. It’s a shame Allen’s real-life domestic situation took precedence over this hilarious comedy about a writer trying to make sense of his life. Unfortunately, he can’t turn to his friends, because he burned each and every one of them in his last book.
Allen is excellent as Harry Block, who ends up suffering from writer’s block at a pivotal moment in his life. He tries to pull his life together (he’s gone through three wives, six psychiatrists enough girlfriends to make Johnny Depp envious) when his alma-mater decides to bestow an honorary degree upon him. That means securing a date, which is more of a challenge than he expected. “Deconstructing Harry” is one of Allen’s funniest movies in years. It’s filled with sharp, funny dialogue and classic Woody Allen moments.
The starry supporting cast couldn’t be better, including Billy Crystal as a hip devil, Robin Williams as a man whose life is out of focus, Julia-Louis Dreyfuss and Richard Benjamin as an adulteress couple who get caught, and Elizabeth Shue as Allen’s current girlfriend. Also on hand are Amy Irving, Demi Moore, Judy Davis, Mariel Hemingway, Kirstie Alley and Stanley Tucci. A real laugh riot.
VISION: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.
The double-sided DVD features both the pan-and-scan and widescreen versions. Unlike “Manhattan,” which screamed out for widescreen treatment, either version of “Deconstructing Harry” will get the job done. The widescreen version has been transferred at it’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Both look tremendous, clean and crisp. Nice color balance, with penetrating blacks and luminous whites. The flesh tones are honestly reproduced. No noise or artifacts present.
HEARING: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.
Excellent. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English track is perfect. Dialogue is extremely important in this film, and the mix is on the money. No audible hiss or distortion, and the classic tunes Allen uses stand up to the test of time. There’s also a French language surround track.
ORAL: [ ] EXCELLENT [ X ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.
Subtitled in English and French by the National Captioning Institute.
COORDINATION: [ ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ X ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.
Not much in the way of extras. There’s the usual scene access, interactive menus, and cast bios, but no trailers.
PROGNOSIS: [ ] EXCELLENT [ X ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.
When Woody Allen is on his game, he’s a brilliant filmmaker. He’s on his game with “Deconstructing Harry,” a film that’s very funny and very adult. If you buy DVD’s for all the little bells and whistles, you will come away disappointed. If you’re into collecting, then by all means hook this one up to your life-support system.
VITALS: $24.95/Rated R/96 Min./Color/18 Chapter Stops/Snapcase/#N4653
ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen
PATIENT: DECONSTRUCTING HARRY
BIRTH DATE: 1997
HMO: New Line Home Video