Mere Anarchy (4 stars)


Mere Anarchy (Ebury)

Back in the day, the artist formerly known as Allan Konigsberg appeared hell-bent on making one classic comedy movie after another. He also seemed to find time to knock up a trio of books with silly stories, philosophically daft musings and surrealistic vignettes successfully designed to make the reader double up in hilarity-fuelled agony. Getting Even, Without Feathers and Side Effects continue to stand the test of time as little epics which managed to distil the huge concerns in the films and stretch the wit until it truly burned.

Perhaps in the light of a continued critical and commercial downturn, Woody has opted to hark back to those glory days when he could do very little wrong. In some kind of cruel hindsight, Mere Anarchy would probably be viewed as the least effective of this unofficial quartet, but that doesn’t mean it fails on any level. It’s funny, vibrant, zany and, in its own absurdist way, quite moving. Only the most avid Allen-hater (of which there are quite a few, I suppose) could baulk at smiling over titles such as ‘Calisthenics, Poison Ivy, Final Cut’, ‘Attention Geniuses: Cash Only’ and ‘Sam, You Made the Pants Too Fragrant’.

A mix of original pieces and others which have brightened the day of New Yorker subscribers, Mere Anarchy fizzes with a literate comedic sensibility as he ranges across such diverse topics as kidnapping, levitation, sex (obviously) and death (naturally). Now, if only we could get him to make another great movie.

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