SLEEPER (director/writer: Woody Allen; screenwriter: Marshall Brickman; cinematographer: David M. Walsh; editors: Ron Kalish/Ralph Rosenblum; music: Woody Allen; cast: Woody Allen (Miles Monroe), Diane Keaton (Luna Schlosser), John Beck (Erno Windt), Mary Gregory (Dr. Melik), Don Keefer (Dr. Tryon), Bartlett Robinson (Dr. Orva),; Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Marshall Brickman/Jack Grossberg/Charles H. Joffe/Ralph Rosenblum; MGM/UA Home Entertainment; 1973)
“The mild comedy antics are zany and the sci-fi parody is mostly pleasant.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Woody Allen (“Annie Hall”/”Take the Money and Run”/”Zelig”) loads up his futuristic sci-fi comedy with slapstick, sight gags, Mack Sennett-inspired chases and one-liners. The mild comedy antics are zany and the sci-fi parody is mostly pleasant, but the comedy never soars or has much bite. Marshall Brickman is the co-writer with Allen.
The nebbish Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) is the co-owner of the Happy Carrot Health Food Restaurant in Greenwich Village and clarinet jazz musician who goes into St. Vincent’s Hospital for a minor ulcer operation and wakes up 200 years later in a capsule after complications develop and his cousin has him frozen. Miles finds that he’s in 2173 and stuck in a fascist police state and that cigarettes are found to be healthy and that NYC teachers union head Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear device and blew up most of the United States. He’s revived by Dr. Orva (Bartlett Robinson) and Dr. Melik (Mary Gregory), who unwrap Miles from his tin-foil and find him staggering around disorientated. The radical doctors, opposing their tyrant leader, plan to use Miles, who has no record, to penetrate the State Labs and uncover the secrets of the Aries Project. The apolitical Miles is reluctant to join their cause telling them “I was beaten up by Quakers.” But the police raid the gadget-heavy place and force Miles to flee, while the doctors are captured. The mini-helicopter he hops into gets stuck in a tree and he’s forced to hide in a robot repair van disguised as a robot.
While on the run, Miles encounters self-satisfied party-giver, composer of greeting cards and poetess Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton) and through unusual circumstances the apolitical poetess teams up with the alien to work for the underground. Miles encounters humanoid robots, a metal ball known as “The Orb” which makes one aroused, 12 foot-high veggies, and a self-inducing orgasm machine called the “The Orgasmatron.”
Some of Allen’s better quips include: “Norman Mailer donated his ego to Harvard Medical School,” “Billy Graham is big in religious circles. He knew God personally,” and when waking from his Rip Van Winkle slumber he says “I knew it was too good to be true, I had a parking spot right next to the hospital.”
REVIEWED ON 4/2/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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