Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40
Watch On
  1. 88
    In its complexity and wit, this is one of his (Allen's) best recent films.
  2. 63
    Has a fascinating premise; it's the execution that's sloppy.
  3. 75
    With Melinda and Melinda he's (Allen) not just going through the motions. He's saying the game isn't over before you laugh till it hurts.
  4. The best reason to see Melinda and Melinda is Radha Mitchell, who has her grabbiest role (or two of them) since she broke through with "High Art."
  5. More accomplished, adventurous and original. Instead of Allen's usual investigation into the nature of existence, this new film looks at the way stories are created, particularly comedies.
  6. 50
    It's all very well to say that laughter and tears are just a heartbeat apart, but both variations on Melinda's story bear the unmistakable mark of Allen's morose sensibilities.
  7. This is closer to an Allen comeback than anything else he's made recently. Maybe he'll achieve it with his next movie, "Match Point," due this year.
  8. Full of entertaining vignettes that eventually make a happy mockery, as they're meant to do, of the tragedy vs. comedy dialectic.
  9. 50
    Doesn't entirely work.
  10. The dialogue rings tinny in the ear, as if enunciated in the phony arc of a stage light.
  11. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    The Australian actress Radha Mitchell is the only reason to see the movie: She has an extraordinary open face and a way of mixing dreaminess with sudden bursts of lacerating emotion that recalls Jessica Lange.
  12. 50
    Beautifully shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, the movie is watchable, sporadically amusing and ultimately frustrating, because Allen is capable of so much more, but doesn't appear interested -- or willing -- to push himself any longer.
  13. A medium-boil good time, mostly for its humor.
  14. 40
    Even these actors -- who, in other pictures, are often wonderful in distinctive ways -- don't seem like themselves: It's as if they've been pulverized and pressed into convenient actor shapes.
  15. This is mainly a narrative brain-teaser like "Memento" or "The Jacket"; merely keeping up with the game requires so much energy that the thinness of the material becomes fully apparent only toward the end.
  16. Whatever you think of Melinda and Melinda, you have to admire Woody Allen for this: After years of criticism that he didn't use people of color in films, he's written two interracial romances.
  17. But Allen can still write a good joke and there are some here. Not enough to say he has returned to form, but enough to remind you of what that form was.
  18. 67
    It's breezy enough, though, as a romantic comedy. And the stakes at risk in it are more grown-up and weighty than those in most Hollywood fare. Like Allen himself, you could do worse.
  19. Allen's best effort since 1999's "Sweet and Lowdown," but that's not saying a lot.
  20. Allen gives us at least half a classic comedy - more than we usually get at the movies these days - while having some elegant fun with an idea that has intrigued poets and smart alecks through the ages: the interchangeability of comedy and tragedy.
  21. As he (Allen) interweaves two versions of the Melinda story, one meant to be bathed in pathos, the other sprinkled with whimsy, it becomes apparent that his notions of comedy and tragedy do not quite correspond either to scholarly dogma or to everyday usage.
  22. 30
    A second-rate comedy and a third-rate drama, Melinda And Melinda gives viewers two unsatisfying movies in one. The only genuine tragedy here involves a once-brilliant comedy writer plunging further into a seemingly permanent artistic freefall.
  23. 38
    It's disconcerting to see Ferrell, a master of macho psychosis, adopt the stop-and-go dithering of Woody Allen-style neurosis.
  24. 60
    Neither comedy nor tragedy, the movie is closest to genteel soap opera.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    Allen has assembled an attractive cast and given most of them clichés to inhabit. He has also stinted on inventiveness.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    Smart, satisfying and compact but so modest in scale that only true-blue fans will sense - immediately - that it's Woody Allen's best outing in many years.
  27. Give Woody Allen credit for ambition. Failing at one movie wasn't enough. Nearly anyone can do that; it happens all the time. He's chosen to fail at two simultaneously.
  28. These days, Allen's pictures are more like snuff films, in which the viewer must suffer both gifted actors committing screen hara-kiri and a once-brilliant filmmaker soldiering on with his long, bullheaded decline.
  29. 70
    It's emotionally more alive than anything Allen has done since "Sweet and Lowdown," in 1999. I was absorbed in it, and I liked parts of it. And I wish to God it were better.
  30. Woody's back on solid ground with his first memorable pic of the new millennium.
  31. The grave story is leaden, the comic story isn't funny, and the comparison--the rivalry--between the two modes is never crystallized.
  32. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    Though Melinda is no masterpiece, it’s also an Allen film that requires almost zero special pleading.
  33. Allen's view of what's "deeply real" feels ever more deeply bogus as the movie progresses, his trademark wit having calcified into pastiche and unintended self-parody.
  34. tTere are two things going for Melinda and Melinda: Woody's not in it and Radha Mitchell is.
  35. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    80
    Radha Mitchell stirs memories of complex Allen heroines from Annie Hall on down, even if the action is dispersed via a larger ensemble cast which he currently favors.
  36. It's merely all right--very high-concept and on its way to interesting, but never there.
  37. When are we going to get a generation of actors who will finally decline to succumb to The Woody Mystique, and refuse to accept a proffered role without first deciding whether the entire damn project is worthwhile?
  38. Reviewed by: Emma Cochrane
    80
    It has great performances, snappy one-liners and a likeably tricksy structure, all wrapped up in an affirmative antidote to life’s daunting complexities. Welcome back, Woody.
  39. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    50
    Not since Edward Norton kicked his own butt in Fight Club has the screen witnessed such a brutal self-drubbing.
  40. Reviewed by: Brendan Bernhard
    50
    From its austere opening credits to its screechy women, this 35th film by Woody Allen looks and sounds like a dozen other Allen movies.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 20
  2. Negative: 6 out of 20
  1. Dec 1, 2014
    3
    I revere Woody Allen. But this is one Woody Allen flm I cannot support. The juxtaposition of the storyline simultaneously along tragic andI revere Woody Allen. But this is one Woody Allen flm I cannot support. The juxtaposition of the storyline simultaneously along tragic and comedic lines just does not work. Most of all, it's confusing. Notwithstanding a terrible script, I have to say Will Farrell does an admirable job. The other cast members fall flat. Full Review »
  2. Oct 10, 2011
    5
    Melinda and Melinda is not a particularly bad film, but just a limp one. In many ways, that's worse. The switching between a comic and tragicMelinda and Melinda is not a particularly bad film, but just a limp one. In many ways, that's worse. The switching between a comic and tragic interpretation of the same movie keeps afloat with thought, but the film itself is rather empty, and neither story is particularly strong on its own. Full Review »
  3. CraigA.
    Jun 12, 2006
    1
    Just rubbish. Stilted, unnatural dialogue, wooden performances, pretensious and bourgious. Its concept is supposedly the same story told two Just rubbish. Stilted, unnatural dialogue, wooden performances, pretensious and bourgious. Its concept is supposedly the same story told two different ways. Its not. Its two different stories told the same way - badly. Full Review »