I wish Woody Allen's “banned” movie A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK was worth trumpeting as a film to be sought out like some forbidden fruit. Alas, it's yet another of Woody's not bad, yet not quite good mediocrities that have littered his filmography for the last couple of decades.
Here we have Timothy Chalomet as a college student in upstate New York who travels to his native Manhattan ostensibly to squire his pretty coed girlfriend (Elle Fanning) around town while she is on assignment from the college newspaper to interview a famed arthouse film Director (Liev Schreiber). Along the way, they become separated. Chalomet ends up meeting up with the younger sis of his old girlfriend (Selena Gomez) and his mom (Cherry Jones). Fanning not only interviews the Director, but, has tete a tetes with his screenwriter (Jude Law) and a hot to trot actor (Diego Luna). And, it rains.
RAINY DAY is another of Woody's screenplays that seems lost in time. Take out the cellphones, and the movie could just as well have been set in the 1970s. The movie opens with Chalomet's character's narration that forces the young actor to come off like a parody of Allen's early mensch persona - he loves Jazz, literature (he's even named Gatsby!) and, of course, all thing old NYC. The female characters are all ditzes, call girls or wanting babes in short skirts who pant for older more 'learned' men.
Allen confronts his peccadillos head on. Here you have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR 'wise' men who are after the young blonde girl. Three of the four could easily be interpreted as stand-ins for Woody himself (the exception, I suppose, is Luna). A babe so innocent looking that she has to, literally (!), whip out her ID card to prove that she's 21. Fanning does her best, but, despite protestations that she's “really smart” - she comes off like a bubble-head.
On one hand, I guess you have to give Allen credit for not giving in to the #MeToo movement and continue to explore his obsessions on screen. Unfortunately, he has nothing new or interesting to say. It's just “another Woody Allen movie”. And, that's the real irony here. Amazon got cold feet and have done their best to bury the picture. Truth is, the 'controversy' is the most interesting thing about it. If it had been released in the normal fashion, it would have disappeared quickly in the ether -- just like most other Woody Allen films these days.