An argument can be safely made that the feature films of Alan Alda are essentially Woody Allen-lite. Perhaps that's why "the Woodman" cast him in a few of his mid-'90s features. Without a doubt, Alda strives valiantly for the sort of comic introspection that is Allen's stock in trade, but in a few of his most memorable films as writer and director, he achieves his goal admirably, and this romantic comedy is definitely a case in point. Transposing his idol's big city angst to a small New England town, Alda finds plenty of purchase by injecting a battalion of Hollywood filmmakers into the proceedings, presaging David Mamet's State and Main (2000) by a decade and a half. Luminous Michelle Pfeiffer and reliable comic foils Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins are on hand, as well as the penultimate performance by screen legend Lillian Gish. But it's Alda's underrated script -- lacerating Hollywood egos -- that deserves most of the credit here. While he took home Emmys as a writer, producer, and star of the TV series M*A*S*H, Alda gets little respect as a feature film scribe, which is a shame because this film, like his previous Four Seasons (1981), is a comic gem.
by Karl Williams review