Last night Daniel and I watched Manhattan Murder Mystery for the 80th time in our lives.
This movie has got to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, and I'm not easily pleased when it comes to comedies! It's written and directed by the genius Woody Allen (I know, his personal life is weird. But that doesn't change the fact that [many of] his movies are incredible). What I love so much about Woody Allen movies is the writing. He has a way of putting together a script and roster of actors that deliver his lines with ease. I never feel like anyone is acting.
I can also appreciate that he has a definitive "style." Every movie begins with the credits in white print on a black screen, and the soundtrack is a string of old big-band era music. The storylines typically revolve around a couple who has lost interest in life or one another, and often, by the end of the movie, their romantic feelings have been rekindled by some series of events.
Now, back to Manhattan. Carol and Larry Lipton (played by Diane Keaton and Woody Allen) are a married couple living in a Manhattan apartment. Carol is restless--restless in life and marriage, and wondering if she and Larry are just a couple of "comfortable old shoes" (to which he responds, "old, but never comfortable").
One evening when Larry and Carol are returning from an evening out, they come upon a commotion around their neighbors' (Mr. and Mrs. House) apartment. They soon learn that Mrs. House has died suddenly of a heart attack. Something about it seems odd to Carol, and she immediately starts constructing conspiracies that her neighbor, Mr. House, has murdered his wife in cold blood. Meanwhile Larry thinks she's completely lost it and needs to go back to seeing her shrink ("Save some craziness for menopause!").
Carol's suspicions won't subside, however, and she launches herself into a full-blown investigation of Mr. House--even breaking into his apartment to look through his things. She's happily assisted in her investigation by her and Larry's friend Ted (Alan Alda), who's recently divorced and very obviously has a crush on Carol.
As Larry sees Carol and Ted grow closer through their "investigation," he begins to worry that Carol is forming an attraction for Ted. Larry sets Ted up on a date with the sexy, bad-ass Marcia (played brilliantly by Angelica Huston) and reluctantly decides to join Carol on "the case." Turns out, there's a little more to Carol's suspicions than he expected.
Soon, Carol and Larry, with the help of Ted, Marcia, and a couple of their friends, get in way over their heads
I've set up the story for you, but to get the full impact of how incredibly hilarious this movie is, you'll have to watch it.
Every circumstance in the movie has a comedic, sarcastic twist to it. Dangerous, intense scenes are set to light, upbeat songs, and as they play out your laughing your head off at the dialogue. Diane Keaton is such a natural actress, and Woody Allen, well...he's always himself! And then there's Angelica Huston's character. She plays a seductive author who is so completely full of it. She saunters into her scenes and takes herself so darn serious you can't help but laugh.
Woody picks the perfect cast here.
It's quite a twist on the typical murder mystery, and boy do I ever recommend it.