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.
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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.