Sleeper

15 ratings (14 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
5 stars
6
4 stars
6
3 stars
2 stars
2
1 star
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Sleeper (1973)

Aug 19, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:humor with robots, score, often very funny

Cons:inconsistent, somewhat dated

I had previously thought that only Charles Chaplin was multi-talented enough to direct, write the script, play the leading role, and compose the score for one of his films. But Woody Allen does all this in Sleeper, and often does it well. While not the best film from his 'early slapstick period' (that honor belongs to Play it Again, Sam), it has more than its share of great scenes.

The funniest scenes in Sleeper are those when Allen is impersonating a domestic robot. He has a battle with a giant pudding, gets high from a metal ball, and makes hilariously drunken passes at party guests. His scenes with Diane Keaton don't work as well, especially the gender role reversal and line readings from A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When a film isn't as good as the subject of its ridicule, it can be more embarrassing than funny.

Allen has many scenes in which he acts like a clumsy, grinning idiot: his revival from defrosting, his exit from the sex machine, the beauty pageant. The latter is one of the weaker scenes. There's not much point to parodying the Miss America pageant when it is already bad enough to be a parody of itself.

Sleeper has considerable ethnic Jewish humor, with mixed results. The two Yiddish tailors are funny, especially when the robots create a uniform for him that is a hopelessly bad fit. A mock Jewish family dinner conversation is less effective. Such inconsistency is common to early Allen films, and with slapstick films in general. It is difficult to come up with enough great gags to fill even a ninety minute movie.

Although most of the film is highly original, some of the gags have been borrowed from slapstick comedies dating as far back as the silent era. For example, the inflatable suit used as a flotation device is from The Navigator (1924). Allen's gags with his reflection in the mirror are similar to Duck Soup (1933). Gags with the big spool of tape are reminiscent of Modern Times (1936), which had factory workers caught up in their own technological machinery.

But tape reels are obsolete today, and it's only a quarter century later. When people try to predict the future, they usually do so by exaggerating contemporary trends to ridiculous extremes. The sets and costumes share nearly the same fascination with the color white as other 'future shock' films from the early 1970s, such as THX 1138 and A Clockwork Orange.

The government's repressive imposed conformity is a familiar science fiction theme. However, this society manages to have a pleasant if shallow existence, thanks to the luxuries of domestic robots, recreational drugs, and casual safe sex. Allen may also be lampooning the attitudes of contemporary hedonistic liberals and their attendant decadent lifestyles.

Sleeper also takes the approach in which everything that we know today has been proven wrong. Allen plays a revived health food store owner, and the look on his face is priceless when he learns that tobacco and fatty foods are actually good for you. These gags are funny because they are revealing; health fads are based on cultural trends as much as transient medical knowledge. On the other hand, jokes involving Norman Mailer and Howard Cosell haven't dated well.

The uptempo Dixieland jazz score features Allen himself on clarinet. I'm not sure that Dixieland will undergo a revival in the year 2173, but the energetic score suits the movie's slapstick nature. Perhaps someday, Allen will actually stoop to include a pop song on the soundtrack of one of his films. (65/100)



Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Sleeper Chair, Multiple Colors

Sleeper Chair, Multiple Colors

This Single Sleeper Chair Bed is a practical and less bulky space-saving alternative to a futon or pull-out couch. It is a perfect item for studying a...
Walmart.com

$149.99

FREE Shipping
Dhp Single Sleeper Chair/ Chocolate Brown

Dhp Single Sleeper Chair/ Chocolate Brown

DHP Single Sleeper Chair The box may be a little distressed from shelf wear.Product Description This Chair Futon by DHP has chocolate brown fabric uph...
eBay

$229.00

+$39.99 shipping
DHP Single Seater / Sleeper

DHP Single Seater / Sleeper

When limited in space and budget but need room for sleepover guests, DHP's Single Seater / Sleeper Chair is the ideal solution. Great for sitting and ...
Sears
Kids Sofas: Twin Sleeper Sofa

Kids Sofas: Twin Sleeper Sofa

Sofas: Twin Sleeper Sofa - - Talbot Cement - Our comfy sleeper sofa easily converts to a twin bed for sleepovers. Now whether your kids and their fri...
The Land of Nod

$1099.00

+$109.90 shipping
Emerald Home Ottoman Hideaway Sleeper - Dark Brown - US1000-05FRC

Emerald Home Ottoman Hideaway Sleeper - Dark Brown - US1000-05FRC

Shop for Ottoman & Footstools from Hayneedle.com! A versatile addition to your home furniture the Emerald Ottoman Hideaway Sleeper - Dark Brown is a s...
Hayneedle

$464.93

FREE Shipping
Dorel Home Furnishings Sleeper Chair Single Black

Dorel Home Furnishings Sleeper Chair Single Black

When limited in space and budget but need room for sleepover guests, DHP's Single Seater / Sleeper Chair is the ideal solution. Great for sitting and ...
Sears

$149.99

FREE Shipping
Fun Furnishings Sofa Sleeper

Fun Furnishings Sofa Sleeper

Sofa sleeper offers comfortable seating to read, watch TV or play a game Flip open the chair for nap time or an overnight trip An excellent ch...
BonTon Stores

$225.00

+$9.95 shipping
Fun Furnishings Micro Suede Kid's Sofa Sleeper 102 Color: Green

Fun Furnishings Micro Suede Kid's Sofa Sleeper 102 Color: Green

Color: Green Fun Furnishings 102 Top quality sofa sleeper made with fire safe, high density foam can comfortably seat two! It is both functional and ...
Wayfair

$163.89

FREE Shipping
Kids Sofas: Sleeper Sofa: Kiwi

Kids Sofas: Sleeper Sofa: Kiwi

Sofas: Twin Sleeper Sofa - - Green - Our comfy sleeper sofa easily converts to a twin bed for sleepovers. Now whether your kids and their friends act...
The Land of Nod

$1099.00

+$109.90 shipping
Children's Sleeper Sofa - Pillow: No, Color: Pink

Children's Sleeper Sofa - Pillow: No, Color: Pink

FFN1032: Features: -Sofa Sleeper. -Moon organic fabric. -Polyester and cotton. -Built in durability. Product Type: -Sofa. Frame Material: -Foam. Numbe...
Sears