(USA/Spain) Written and directed by Woody Allen. Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates. Category IIA.
In “Whatever Works,” Woody Allen returns to his hometown of New York after some European dabbling. It’s an archetypal Allen movie, so if you can’t stand urban Jewish-American intellectual cynicism and supporting characters popping up randomly without rhyme or reason, stay the hell away. Indeed, the script might come off as catastrophically archaic to some, as it was written in the 70s. But to those bored of present day Hollywood, this flick is pleasurably nostalgic.
Since Woody Allen officially went off the deep end a decade ago, critics have repeatedly proclaimed the Big Woody Comeback. They hailed its arrival with “Anything Else” (2003), then with “Melinda and Melinda” (2004), and again with “Match Point” (2005). The eager ejaculations proved woefully premature every time. Unsurprisingly, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is the latest to be declared a “return to form” for Allen. Again, it’s far from on par with much of his prelapsarian work.
(USA) Match Point, Woody Allen’s 2005 film, was great. Scoop, staring Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman, was lukewarm. Cassandra’s Dream, the third film in his London trilogy, confirms that Allen’s prodigious output has reached its creative nadir. Quantity and quality usually correlate negatively, and so on behalf of all Woody Allen’s fans, we beseech him to take a break.
“Match Point” is certainly one of the least Woody Allenesque films Woody Allen has directed in close to two decades. That’s a good thing, for this tale of lust, social climbing, greed and murder in modern-day London unspools as dramatically as a five-set championship final.