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ranters and ravers

Woody Allen's New Book Is More ‘Scoop’ Than ‘Annie Hall’

Courtesy of Random House

You rarely have to wait more than a year to see a new Woody Allen film, but Mere Anarchy is the comedian's first prose collection since 1980's Side Effects. Like Allen's other books, which are anthologized in this summer's The Insanity Defense, Mere Anarchy consists of short pieces (many first published in The New Yorker) whose humor is not unlike that of his movies. And as has been true with Allen's recent movies, most critics agree with the Times' Janet Maslin about Mere Anarchy that "the best of his old pieces outshine the new work."

Semi-Rave: "Mere Anarchy is nostalgically enjoyable, and most of it sounds timelessly bright. It would be impossible to discern, even from a close reading of the piece called 'Calisthenics, Poison Ivy, Final Cut,' where carbon dating would place it in the Allen comedy timeline." —Janet Maslin, New York Times

Rant: "If the point of this collection is humor, then there aren't enough laughs. If satire, then it's hardly Swiftian. The targets include new-age idiocy, psychoanalysis and the vulgarity of Hollywood. Ground-breaking it isn't." —Christopher Hart, Sunday Times of London
Marc Tracy