Woody Allen’s musical comedy, Everyone Says I Love You (1996), is a catastrophe. Frequently it is not very funny because comedy and undistinguished dialogue don’t exactly go together unless the comedy is physical. The movie features songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, among others; and they are butchered by the bad voices of Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and Allen himself. The only tolerable number is the first one, “Just You, Just Me,” because Edward Norton’s singing is more or less acceptable and the routine does not require much liveliness. Any time a routine does require liveliness, you can forget about Allen providing it. I can’t judge the choreography of Graciela Daniele, but it seems quite pleasant within this framework.
The film’s title derives from a Marx Brothers flick, and I wish Allen was as good a writer as those the Marx Brothers had. The musical’s “book” can be obnoxiously stupid, as witness the tomfoolery involving Barrymore and Tim Roth. Is it possible that when writing it Allen said to himself, “Oh well. The books for those old musicals weren’t very good either”? Damned if I know.