With only one other picture under his belt, the title could be called derivative. Recycling Japanese spy movie “International Secret Police: Key of Keys” for his directorial debut? Doesn’t seem like the most auspicious of beginnings. Yet, Allen is playful with the audience’s expectations and rewrites the plot so that the lead character – secret agent Phil Moskovitz, “loveable rogue” – is charged with the mission of retrieving from enemy hands the holiest of holy recipe grails: egg salad. Adding to the self-referential vein in this exercise in post modernism, the film is framed by a documentary-styled interview to introduce the premise of the spy movie pastiche.
The interviewer: “Woody, since the story is a bit difficult to follow, would you mind giving the audience and myself a brief rundown on what’s gone on so far?”
Woody: [casually] No.
As with What’s New Pussycat, the plot is seen as simply an excuse to engage in a bit of a verbal romp that would make Groucho proud:
Teri Yaki: [talking about Shepherd Wong] I’d call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse.
Sophisticated character development is hardly within this film’s remit, yet Phil Moskowitz shows sparks of a magnetic charm that’ll entice me to return to it in the future when my hand wanders near its perch on the dvd shelf.
Phil Moskovitz: Meet me in the bedroom in five minutes. Bring a cattle prod.
Suki Yaki: I’m such a great piece!
Teri Yaki: I wish Phil would get here. It’s getting awfully late.
Suki Yaki: [Running to answer a knock at the door] It’s Phil, bringing the promise of joy and fulfillment in its most primitive form!
Teri Yaki: I hope he brought the vibrator.