In a dinner conversation, two New York writers discuss the duality of human nature. They concoct a situation and proceed to explore the different stories that could spring from, based on a highly-strung young woman, Melinda (Radha Mitchell). The two different treatments of Melinda's story have one thing in common: they both explore relationships, self-image, loyalty and the neuroses within each character.
Melinda and Melinda is set, where else, but in Manhattan. Playwrights Max and Sy (actors Larry Pine and Wallace Shawn) are deep in conversation, arguing about the tragic and comedic face of theatre. Both recall an anecdote about a woman named Melinda who gate crashes a dinner party. Their separate takes on this scenario play out in two stories that are given equal time on screen.
Cleverly constructed and impeccably cast, Melinda and Melinda is entertaining to watch, but lacks much of the savvy wit that characterises the best Woody Allen films. Radha Mitchell takes on the dual role, but a different ensemble is cast for each version of the story. Will Ferrell delivers a strong performance, stepping into Woody's acting shoes as the neurotic New Yorker, and Radha Mitchell shows great versatility but the scope of her characters was so limited, it was hard to distinguish between the two. And don't expect anything new as Allen explores very familiar terrain.