xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The dialogue in Woody Allen's "Anything Else" is an exercise of neurotic bravery, a defense against fear and insecurity. His characters are doubtful about their prospects in life. Careers aren't going well, and romance works only through self-deception. To hold despair at bay they talk and talk, and because Allen is a master of comic dialogue, it is our pleasure to listen.
The new movie has both a mentor and a narrator, so one character gives insights about life and the other gives insights about him. The hero is Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs), a would-be comedy writer whose career is going nowhere, and his advisor is David Dobel (Allen), a 60ish New Jersey school teacher whose career has gone nowhere; he hasn't stopped hoping, but he keeps the day job. They meet in the park for long talks, Dobel doing most of the talking, Jerry grateful at first and then dubious: If Dobel knows so much, how come he's still stuck? Jerry was once fully and happily in love with Brooke (KaDee Strickland), a woman who presented no difficulties, which was perhaps the problem, since he left her for Amanda (Christina Ricci), a woman who consists of difficulties.
Amanda is an actress who seems to keep Jerry around primarily as a foil for intimate improv scenes in which she explains the ways his life must be miserable if he is to continue enjoying her company. He asks if she doesn't love him. "Just because when you touch me I pull away?" she even asks. At one point, she declares a six-month moratorium on sex. When the ever-optimistic Jerry makes reservations at a fancy restaurant to celebrate their anniversary, she stands him up ("I already ate").
Jerry introduces Amanda to David. David's verdict is instantaneous: "She's cheating on you." He advises Jerry to spy on her, which he does by lurking in stairwells and skulking in doorways for hours at a time, until finally he thinks he has enough proof to confront her, not realizing that in matters of cheating the worst thing you can do is expose the other person -- because then they have their excuse to leave. Better to suffer in silence, as the wise Charles Bukowski once advised, until they figure out which one they want.