Deconstructing Harry is Wild Strawberries (1957) New York-style, as Woody Allen looks to Ingmar Bergman again for creative inspiration, and comes up with a story that deals darkly, if hilariously, with his purported propensity for using his famously troubled personal life as fodder for his art. Once again displaying his command of the medium as well as his endless capacity for self-examination, Allen parodies his signature neuroses, references his past work, and uses jump-cuts, flashbacks, and "novelized" depictions of Harry Block's past to illuminate the blocked writer's personal travails and romantic failings. Despite the acrid tone, Allen still mines humor out of Harry's wrecked life, particularly in an imaginary trip to Hell (featuring Billy Crystal as Harry's personal Satan), and a "fictional" set piece involving Robin Williams as an actor who has literally lost his focus. Praised as a cinematic step forward after several smoothly genial comedies, Deconstructing Harry failed to break Allen's box office drought despite (or perhaps because of) its tempting air of raunchy candidness; Allen, however, did earn his 13th Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
by Lucia Bozzola review