Celebrity (1998)


Comedy | Drama





Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Winona Ryder, Leonardo DiCaprio, Melanie Griffith, Famke Janssen, Joe Mantegna, Charlize Theron, Gretchen Mol, Michael Lerner, Isaac Mizrahi, Bebe Neuwirth, Hank Azaria, Douglas McGrath, J. K. Simmons, Dylan Baker, Debra Missing, Allison Janney


When a reporter (Kenneth Branagh) is assigned to the celebrity beat he anticipates a little excitement. But he never expected this... Quickly, he finds himself on a collision course with four of the most outrageous people he has ever met: a sensuous starlet (Melanie Griffith), an out-of-control movie star (Leonardo DiCaprio), an aspiring actress (Winona Ryder), and a sexy supermodel (Charlize Theron).


Everyone is allowed to some downfalls in life, and Woody Allen certainly has taken his fair share, both in his private and professional life, and "Celebrity" is another proof of that. It isn't completely rubbish, but it certainly isn't a film some would expect from Allen after movies like "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Deconstructing Harry".

Clearly another attempt at doing another Fellini - it's "La Dolce Vita" this time - the plot isn't really that bad, but the poor execution makes the watching of the film a real painful, dull experience. The story doesn't seem to find its focus, shifting from one place to another, and more than a real story is looks like a collage of vignettes. Not very funny vignettes.

Indeed, most of the jokes and gags aren't effective, and most of them are predictable too - especially the jokes about blowjobs. 

Another problem with "Celebrity" is that it doesn't seem like it has something to say. Allen appears to want to say something about the nature of celebrity, but the message never arrives.

Kenneth Branagh's story is another weak part of the film. It is not the story itself, but mostly his character, too immature and self-centered to be likeable. Also I don't know who was the idea to have Branagh doing a Woody Allen imitation, but it clearly wasn't a good call. I want to see nobody but Allen doing Allen.

There are some good elements as well. The black and white cinematography is quite good, and there are some great performances, like Leonardo DiCaprio's in the role of a cokhead movie star, and Judy David's as Branagh's ex-wife.


  1. I haven't seen this in years, but I remember some good bits. The scenes with Charlize Theron always come back to me. She's got this line about needing to take echinacea or something. Not sure why that sequence sticks with me so well. And I always thought Branagh did a great job of playing the Woody Allen persona/character. This is a weaker one. Not as memorable as some of the others Woody was making at the time, as you said. But I certainly didn't hate it. Great review!

  2. I forgot about this film and will see it one day. You have inspired me to see Woody Allen pics again. Your reviews are always great