The Woody Allen who wrote and directed Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) back in 1972 was not yet the full-bloom, all-promises-delivered Woody who gave us Annie Hall and Manhattan-- but at least he wasn't the inert and seemingly dispirited moviemaker who now asks us to embrace this year's dreary Melinda and Melinda with something like the old enthusiasm. A farce in several episodes, Everything made mincemeat of the best-selling sex manual (by Dr. David Reuben) on which it was nominally based, taking comic pains to shred both the straight-faced sincerity of Reuben's prose and the American obsession with sex.
Clearly, Allen has been a willing (if unhappy) participant in that obsession since the age of, oh, six, and his fervid imaginings led him, via Dr. Reuben, down the path to giant breasts, a sheep with romance on its mind and, best of all, an army of white-clad spermatozoa worrying aloud about the impending battle between self-control and all-out lust. The sketches are uneven; parts of the film haven't aged very well. But as the expression of Woody Allen's runaway id, it still serves quite nicely.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know… screens Saturday, April 16, in the Esquire Theatre's edgy Midnight Madness series. The Esquire is at 590 Downing Street. For information, call 303-352-1992.