A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
In New York Stories, three segments are shown back to back, and they are all engaging in their own ways however it's only 2/3 successful as a total motion picture. Martin Scorsese's Life Lessons is a good example of what caliber of work Scorsese had when he made those three student films in the 1960's. It is a film that has a lot of depth, but it is quite worth it for fans of the actors and those who could get interested in Richard Price's story.
Coppola, director of THE GODFATHER and APOCALYPSE NOW makes Life Without Zoe here, a film that is 180 degrees out of whack from those two movies in that it tells the story of a little rich girl whose best friend is a doorman and revolves around a rich boy's birthday party. In a way, it almost could appeal to kids, but it's the wrong place to put in between a story of artists by Scorsese and a comedy of mother and son troubles by Allen.
Which brings me to the last short film, Oedipus Wrecks, where Woody plays a character whose mother suddenly out of the blue disappears. This is a good showing of what Woody can do in comedy without having to have a picture length presentation (not that he makes many bad films by the way).
So, New York Stories is worth checking out for Life Lessons and Oedipus Wrecks, and there could be an audience somewhere for Life Without Zoe, although the biggest flaw of the movie comes that neither one can connect at all outside of the fact that they all take place in New York and are made by New York directors- in short- fascinating and imperfect in some ways. B+
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