Celebrity (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Urban Comedy, Comedy of Manners, Ensemble Film, Media Satire  |   Release Date - Nov 20, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Keith Phipps

Maybe the name should have been warning enough: with Celebrity, Woody Allen offers his most explicit comment on life in the spotlight since scandal dogged him in the early '90s, and his lack of distance makes for a crushingly obvious take on the subject. Sven Nykvist's cinematography, some sharp performances, and a few scenes allowing Leonardo DiCaprio -- then at the height of his post-Titanic fame -- to send up his image give the film its only spark. The latter also suggests the full extent of Allen's insight into the subject of fame -- that public personas and private behavior often have little to do with one another and that the duties of one can conflict with the other. Overall one of Allen's most unpleasant films, it also relies on audiences to suffer through an intolerable leading performance from the increasingly questionable Kenneth Branagh, whose Allen impression -- and there's no mistaking it for anything else -- wouldn't pass muster at a college open mic night.