BetteBack Review February 27, 1991: Even Midler, who is usually pure energy, is a real snooze in this film

Walla Walla Union Bulletin
February 27, 1991


Woody Allen is a talented person. He is a fantastic writer, a wonderful director and he can even act.

But he isn’t a great actor. He really only plays one character well – Woody Allen.

In Scenes From a Mall, Allen attempts to branch out. He plays Nick Fifer, a sushi-eating, Saab-driving, espresso-drinking Southern California lawyer who hates mimes.

Woody Allen, however, isn’t a California guy. He’s a New York person and it shows. ‘The only believable part of his character was the mimehating.

It also provided the only laughs. (I found it hysterical, however, only because I consider street mimes pests. Mimes follow you, annoy you and – despite all reasonable requests – persist in being obnoxious. It is easier to get gum off your shoes than a street mime off your back.)

The rest of the film, which centers on the marital problems of Nick and his wife, Deborah (Bette Midler), is dull.

Even Midler, who is usually pure energy, is a real snooze in this film.

The talents of Allen and Midler are wasted. It is very disappointing. It’s even more disappointing because the film, directed by Paul Mazursky, had a promising concept.

The idea of a couple trying to work out their marital problems at a chic shopping mall sounded funny.

Well, I guess it isn’t. It might have worked as a five-minute Saturday Night Live routine, but it doesn’t work as a full-length feature film.

It seemed to go on and on and on.

Nick and Deborah walk around the mall carrying a bright yellow su rfboard, tossing sushi and screaming.

‘They do the same routine several times, I suppose, so that if you didn’t laugh the first time you will have another chance. It’s not worth the effort.

Scenes From a Mall, despite a few laughs at the expense of a mime, isn’t worth watching.

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