In HOLLYWOOD ENDING, Woody Allen stars as Val Waxman, a onetime hot director who now gets fired from deodorant commercials in the frozen north. He is desperate for a comeback, but when he is at last offered a deal--for a $60 million blockbuster--it's from his ex-wife producer, Ellie (Tea Leoni), and her lover, Hal (Treat Williams), the studio head who had stolen Ellie away from Val ten years earlier. At his agent's (Mark Rydell as Al Hack) urging, Val takes the job, but Val is struck with psychosomatic blindness on the eve of production. Yet he is still determined to direct the picture.HOLLYWOOD ENDING is a return to form for Allen. He is excellent as the fading auteur struggling to find his vision. His dependence on Al and Ellie is both pathetic and hysterical. Leoni and Rydell are outstanding, as is the rest of the eclectic cast, which includes Isaac Mizrahi as a production designer, Debra Messing as Val's chippie girlfriend, George Hamilton as a vain Hollywood tagalong, and Tiffani Thiessen as a sexpot actress. The film is filled with wonderful New York City locations, including Central Park, the Plaza hotel, Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, Balthazar, and more. HOLLYWOOD ENDING is a funny, poignant look at a filmmaker fighting public and professional scrutiny to craft his art, not unlike what Allen himself has gone through in his career, especially in the 1990s.