Woody Allen opens his 45th feature film in a cafe, with a discussion between two writers. Each has a different take on a story one has heard, and we watch as the two versions are intermittently dramatized. In the tragedy, Melinda (Radha Mitchell) is an alcoholic wreck fleeing a conglomeration of hardships: a desperate affair, loss of custody of her children, a drug-addicted rage resulting in the shooting of her husband, and jail time. In New York, she lands at the home of actor Lee (Johnny Lee Miller) and socialite Laurel (Chlöe Sevigny), who try to help. In the comedy, Melinda is a hapless, humorously suicidal single girl who meets director Susan (Amanda Peet) and actor Hobie (Will Ferrell), a couple whose marriage has lost its spark. Perhaps Melinda and Melinda would be more successful if either plot were more fully baked. So much feels staged, and also familiar, if only because we've heard nearly identical lines issue from the mouths of other Allen creations.