Leonard Zelig is a man who can apparently change his physical appearance and mannerisms to mimic those around him. He is known as the chameleon who wants so badly to be liked and to assimilate that he transforms himself over and over. And then there is a backlash against him but he proves himself.
It isn't a stretch of the imagination to see this movie as a metaphor for Allen's career. He mimics great directors in order to become one. After all, in Zelig, Allen has literally inserted himself in pre-existing stock footage. He continually reinvents himself on the screen and uses the template of those who have gone before him. He is celebrated and criticized, but as Saul Bellow says in his interview, "It is his disorder that saves him."
I think Zelig is an interesting idea but not a very good movie. It gets a little boring even running at 80 minutes. It probably would have been better as a short.
I give it three stars.