Picks and Pans Review: Mighty Aphrodite

Woody Allen, Helena Bonham Carter, Mira Sorvino

Director-writer Allen plays a sportswriter and adoptive father who decides to track down his 5-year-old son’s biological mother. She turns out to be a rather sweet-natured porn actress and, as played by Sorvino in a high, breathy, Miss Piggy voice, is the one drop of charm in this otherwise lousy comedy.

The movie is flat and so indifferently written, it never feels particularly plausible that Allen and his art-dealer wife (Bonham Carter, joyless and stone-faced) would bother to adopt in the first place, or that he’d want to find Sorvino. Allen himself seems to have realized this. His gag solution is to keep cutting to an ancient amphitheater, where a full Greek chorus, led by F. Murray Abraham, provides comical commentary on the characters’ motives and fates. (Hence, also, the title’s reference to the Greek goddess of love.)

The movie goes down like a draft of hemlock. (R)

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