Woody Allen is an American icon. He has made a movie once a year since 1975!!! Not sure if you really grasped that. One man has written and directed a movie every single year for the past 34 years! He has one of the longest catalogs on the IMDB.com website. He's written some of the funniest movies ever made, won Oscars but has also made some crap. This one falls somewhere in between. It stars Larry David, who if you didn't see him on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO or know he was the creator of "Seinfeld," would think he's just some guy who won the Woody Allen look-a-like contest. He plays the lead opposite Evan Rachel Wood, who is a young, Southern barbie doll who develops an unlikely friendship with him. Wood is completely unrecognizable since seeing her last as Mickey Rourke's daughter in "The Wrestler." She is really developing into a great actress that has the chops to hold up against any drama and any comedy. Larry David on the other hand is good at one thing...playing Larry David. That's not really a bad thing since all he's doing is stepping in for Allen who is only good at playing Woody Allen as well. That's a kind of accurate way to describe the film as a whole too. It's a Woody Allen movie that is really only good at being one thing...a Woody Allen movie. It's a slice of romantic comedy New York City life as told (directly to the camera) by a miserable, Jewish, hypocondriac genius. It mocks the south, stupidity, religion and conservative people. Those are all things that I find amusing and funny but it doesn't help Woody Allen's reputation for being a snob at all. One of the best Woody Allen movies ever made (and best movie in general ever made) is "Annie Hall." It's like he wanted to recapture the magic in that movie and made this but ended up getting just a low-rent version of it. It's a jaded, apathetic, negative look at love but still ends up with a positive message and a couple big laughs by the end. If you're a fan of Woody Allen, you know that watching his movies is like watching a play; you have to be patient and get ready for a lot of talking that aims intentionally over your head, but if that's your cup-of-tea then sit down and enjoy a pot with this.
Whatever Works (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B-