Here’s a movie that goes by one name only, Mira Sorvino. She’s one-woman conjuror in Woody Allen’s otherwise frivolous comedic chitchat about a middle-age sportswriter Lenny (guess who) who wants a kid and but gets mile-a-minute B-Cup. Since wife Amanda (Helena Bonham-Carter) and not-so-spermy Lenny can’t get the baby thing done, they adopt.
Ah, but this a Morality Play (as Allen’s early amphitheatrics, chorus and all, make clear). Later, Lenny’s so thrilled with the progress of his adopted prodigy son that he decides to track down the sure-to-be-a-genius birth mother. Turns out that Mom is porno actress Linda Ash a.k.a. Judy Cum. No sooner than Sorvino prances her Ash-cum-Cum heart-of-gold porn star to life, the movie enchants. She’s a vulgar Audrey Hepburn with sugar to spare. Linda offers Lenny sex because she can’t really figure out any earthly reason why he’d otherwise be interested in befriending her. A big-time confider, she also tells Lenny her biggest regret is once having had a son she gave up for adoption. Circle squared.
Sorvino has no right being as poignant as she is, at least not under Allen’s comic watch, but he seems more enthralled than bemused. Rightly so. He’s set her up to disarm (“So there I am on the first day, on the set,” she tells new-pal Lenny, “and there’s this guy fucking me from behind, right, and there’s these two huge guys dressed like cops in my mouth at the same time and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I like acting. I wanna study.’) Sorvino’s Labrador puppy enthusiasm is everyone’s gain. It’s her movie (though it’s admittedly fun seeing Jack Warden as Tiresias).