Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whatever Works (2009)

Movie quotes:
Perry: She explained to me your theory about life being meaningless.
Boris: Don’t let it spoil your evening.

Boris: It’s uncanny. She exactly the kind of moron you described.
Marietta: You are not the gentleman I was expecting.
Boris: I’m sure not. I’m sure you’d be happy if she married the guy who caught the biggest catfish in Plakemun County.
Marietta: I’d be happier if she married the catfish.

Melodie: Oh, wait…I always carry some Viagra with me.
Randy: That’s alright, I eat a lot of red meat.

John: Who are you?
Boris: I’m her husband. You wanna pass out here, or go in the living room.

John: I can handle the truth: does she hate me?
Melodie: That was a pretty awful thing you did with her best friend.
John: Then she hates me?
Boris: Yes, yes, she hates you! I can’t stand it! I hate you and I just met you!

At a glance:
Although still a faded copy of his greatest films, Whatever Works has perfect casting and enough humor and pathos to rate as Woody Allen’s most successful movie in many years

Our review (with spoilers):
Woody Allen never gets  tired of telling the same Pygmalion-style story. An older, neurotic, intelligent Jewish man crosses paths with a much younger woman – a girl, really. She’s not too bright and she’s naïve, but she’s eager, sincere, and she learns quickly. And, of course, she’s beautiful. She’s easily influenced by this supposedly more intelligent older man, a man who is generous but complains about it. Allen’s script isn’t often funny, but it has two obvious strong points. One: Larry David has the ideal look, personality, and delivery to play the Allen character. He’s got a great ‘I don’t care if I’m funny’ going for him. Two: Evan Rachel Wood is a truly charming screen presence who refuses to play the role as a typical ‘Allen female’ clone. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and some heartfelt speeches about life and love. What doesn’t work are the gay jokes, and John’s (Ed Begley Jr.) lightning fast coming out transformation. Don’t compare this to early Allen – it’s obvious now that he’ll never make ‘em like he used to – but for latter-day, Allen, it is the funniest he has written since Mighty Aphrodite in 1995. I’d like to call it a comeback, but this is tempered by the fact that Allen pulled the script from a bottom drawer where it had been sitting since the 1970s.

Rating:  2.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"[Larry] David's human sandpaper delivery gives a full, deep voice to Allen's reckless misanthropy."
- Sean Burns (Philadelphia Weekly)

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