Woody Allen takes a nostalgic look at the future.
Miles Monroe, a clarinet-playing health food store proprietor, is revived out of cryostasis 200 years into a future world in order to help rebels fight an oppressive government regime.
Pretty funny at times but not really that consistent.
As a bonus, there is costume design by Joel Schumacher.
I stated a few reviews back that nothing dates as quickly as a vision of the future. Woody Allen realised this as far back as the early 70s. Set in the year 2173, Sleeper has a kitsch future aesthetic that is heavily reminiscent of the sci-fi of twenty years earlier.
The plot itself is fairly slight but amply demonstrates that the young Woody had some fair chops as a physical comedian, and there are a few obvious homages to the likes of the Three Stooges and the famous mirror scene from the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup. It's also a slightly clumsy showcase for Allen's trademark wordplay, although Diane Keaton is suitably game foil.
What I did like is using a…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Having a tough time coming to a decision on which is better, this or BANANAS? I found both of them equally silly, funny, and tedious in equal measure. I think I have to give the edge to BANANAS though because political comedy is more ripe for satire than science fiction if you ask me. Then again, SLEEPER is more polished with a better script that keeps things moving forward, clever gags, some hilari-bad costumes and props. The physical comedy is as silly as ever with Allen literally plucking from the well of the Three Stooges with slipping-on-banana gags as well as bonks on the head, it's all good fun but I wonder how people in the 70s took it? Surely…
More of a slog than I remembered (those jazz & slapstick-interludes are deadly), but Diane Keaton's Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski had me in stitches.
Wacky sci-fi madness.
Sleeper continues two of my recent film watching trends.
1. Catching up on Woody Allen films.
2. Falling in love with actresses from the seventies.
It's my second favorite organ.
As much as I love early, pure comedy, Woody Allen films, they pretty much universally have pacing problems. The stream of jokes is just so steady and unrelenting that it kind of wears you out by the end. But then look at me complaining that a film is too funny! What an asshole I am!
Woody appears to use the story as a vehicle through which to pay homage to the slapstick of silent cinema. To his credit, Woody does a reasonable job with the physical comedy. The film is a bit too silly to take seriously though and the dialogue shows only glimpses of the cleverness of his later work.
Unfortunately, more inconsistent than any other Woody Allen vehicle I've ever seen, but the futuristic musings and a radiant, hilarious Diane Keaton pull it through. The first 20 minutes are relatively devoid of laughs, Allen trying too hard into tap the Marx brothers' shtick. After that, the one-liners absolutely kill it, but it falls into another lull when joining Keaton's character in the woods as part of the underground movement against the foretelling U.S. police state.
In 200 years people will not touch theirselves to have sexual intercourse, there will be something called orb, vegetables and chicken will be huge and VolksWagens will be working fine. And a nose can be salvation.
Sure you can read it as an homage to Laurel & Hardy or Keaton all you will, it doesn't magically make it any less tepid. It's certain that I'm not particularly attuned to slapstick & chase movies, but even the literary invectives fall flat more often than not.
Every so often I forget why Woody Allen is an overated, pervert. A man who makes crap movies is a complete wimp and dork, yet gets all the hot chicks in his movies. I find none of his films funny, this one is no exception. I guess I just don't get him.
A lot of funny moments plus the Orgasmatron make this one memorable.
The early Woody Allen at his silliest, the plot device of a man awakening in the future used by H. G. Wells in "The sleeper awakes" and of course later by Matt Groening in "Futurama" is just an excuse for a non-stop deluge of comic situations and lines, most of which (but certainly not all) work. A lot of the film is Allen's attempt to imitate the great silent comedians, but these high speed, frenetic, knockabout sequences lack the subtlety of Keaton, Chaplin or Lloyd, being overly reliant on props, but still funny. Of course the dialogue is much more Allen's forte with a huge number of memorable, quotable lines.