This collection of 18 sketches, 10 of which appeared in the New Yorker, is Allen's first in 25 years. The animating comedy is part S.J. Perelman and part borscht belt: Allen piles the ludicrous on top of the ridiculous and tops it with an acidic lemon squeeze, and then just keeps the jokes coming. So when the babysitter in ""Nanny Dearest"" describes her boss-""Bidnick gorges himself on Viagra, but the dosage makes him hallucinate and causes him to imagine he is Pliny the Elder""- we laugh; when, in a piece making fun of the New York Times science page, ""Strung Out,"" Allen notes that ""to a man standing on the shore, time passes quicker than to a man on a boat - especially if the man on the boat is with his wife""-we groan. Sometimes the simplest pieces work best: man goes to New Age retreat and learns to levitate, but not to get back down. While this collection doesn't quite measure up to Allen's Without Feathers (1975), there are pieces here - for instance, the report on Mickey Mouse's testimony at the Michael Eisner/Michael Ovitz trial - that will put a rictus on your kisser.
Reviewed on: 06/04/2007 Release date: 06/01/2007 Genre: Fiction
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