Like most of Allen's movies, this one is better than the box-office receipts would indicate; it still looks good many years after it was shot. Allen never lets his actors see a full script while they are shooting, so no one, except Allen, knows what's happening in the film. Consequently,
many of the performers were confused by their roles.
A Greenwich Village health food store owner who dabbles in Dixieland jazz, Allen reluctantly goes to the hospital for an ulcer operation in 1973. The operation fails, and the doctors quickly put him into the deep freeze. Two hundred years later, he awakens in a dystopian future presided over by a
Big Brother-style leader. With Keaton, a writer of Rod McKuenesque verse, he sets out to overthrow the government.
There is one sight gag after another, in a physical, Buster Keaton-like fashion, and many barbs puncture contemporary targets. When someone asks what happened to Norman Mailer, Allen says that he donated his ego to science. The McDonald's signs show trillions of hamburgers sold, etc. SLEEPER is a
highly inventive science fiction parody that is typical of Allen's tight, well-edited movies, which usually come in under 90 minutes. Costumes by Joel Schumacher are excellent; he later gave up sewing for writing (CAR WASH) and then directing.
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