False alarms have been sounded before, but Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (Fox Searchlight) has struck at least one critic (Screen Daily‘s Jonathan Romney) as a seriously commendable comeback flick. An intriguing concept — i.e., cutting back and forth between comic and tragic versions of the same story — and a “career best” performance by Radha Mitchell (along with Will Ferrell’s appealingly low-key turn as a Woody-esque nebbishy sort) are the stand-out elements. “After a run of lightweight comedies that caused even hardcore supporters to lose patience, Woody Allen achieves a heartening return to form with his most idiosyncratic and substantial film in some time,” Romney proclaims. “[Pic] finds Allen stretching himself more, and clearly enjoying himself more, than in any film since 1999’s Sweet And Lowdown. Its complex structure and speculative seriousness mean that Melinda and Melinda is closest in Allen’s canon to such heavyweight ensemble pieces as Crimes and Misdemeanors and Hannah And Her Sisters.” Melinda was shown at the San Sebastian Film Festival, but won’t open in the U.S. until 3.18.05.