Boris Yelkinoff is a former professor at Columbia who now spends his days teaching people chess and criticizing everyone under the sun. He has few friends, and he disdains everyone in the world for being so stupid. One night, Boris meets Melodie, a dumb young Southern girl who ran away from home from her strict religious parents. Boris doesn't want to, but he eventually caves to letting her stay with him until she can get a job and afford her own place. She becomes enraptured by the haughty way in which Boris talks, and she finds she can't date guys her own age because they don't challenge her intelligence the way that Boris does. Boris finds her desire to be challenged arousing, and he spur-of-the-moment decides to marry her. Some time later, Boris and Melodie's marriage has settled into a boring rhythm, until Melodie's mother Marietta shows up, thankful that Melodie had simply run away and wasn't kidnapped or killed. She is disgusted, however, by Boris, who is too old, boring, and cynical for her daughter, in her eyes. She doesn't want Melodie's marriage to end the way hers had. Two new relationships start when Boris, Melodie, and Marietta go to dinner that night: first, Marietta grows interested in Boris' friend Leo, and second, Marietta tries to encourage Melodie to have an affair with Randy, a hunky man who asked if she was single. Marietta grows more distant from her old life, becoming a bohemian photographer with two lovers, and Melodie grows more distant from Boris, as she begins to cave and starts a full-blown affair with Randy. Boris must find a way to get his life back together, to insure the happiness of the women around him while also keeping his own depression at bay.
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Best part of story, including ending:
As a Woody Allen fan, I like everything he does, because I think he's a smart writer with a witty voice. This is a lesser entry into his pantheon, but it's enjoyable and funny nevertheless.
Best scene in story:
When we see Marietta and her ex-husband John at film's end, they are so far from the strict religious folks they were at the start that it's a very funny scene.
Opinion about the main character:
Boris is a grouch to put it mildly, a misanthrope to be more accurate, but Larry David has been good at playing this type of barely-likable role for years and making them work.