Mighty Aphrodite - * * *

A typical Woody Allen comedy about one man’s quest to shape his world. Woody Allen plays Lenny Weinrib, a sports writer, who, with his artistic wife, Helena Bonham Carter, adopt a son. When his relationship with his wife begins to wane, Lenny begins a quest to discover the true mother of his gifted child. When she turns out to be a tawdry hooker (Mira Sorvino), he turns his attentions toward her rehabilitation. The films brightest (and most bizarre) moments come with the intrusion of a robed and masked Greek chorus (including such personas as F. Murray Abraham, Olympia Dukakis, David Ogden Stiers, Claire Bloom, and Jack Warden), offering commentary and advice to Allen’s distraught character. Surprisingly for Allen, there are only two truly interesting characters in this film, Woody’s and Mira’s. The rest are rather one dimensional, bordering on caricatures. Woody Allen plays his typical nervous loser, who somehow succeeds tempting fate. Mira Sorvino brings a zest into the role of the dimwitted prostitute. The dialogue is well written, particularly the Greek chorus, which is seamlessly integrated into this incongruous setting. Although those familiar with Allen’s work won’t be surprised by much in Mighty Aphrodite, the film provides plenty of chuckles and a few good laughs.

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