Whatever Works (2009)

Dir. Woody Allen

I would guess Penny, Kevin and Chris would think this is OK, but no better than that. I wouldn’t recommend it to them or anyone else.

Allen wrote this script in the 70s for Zero Mostel and shelved it when he died. The fact that this is an old script is not surprising, since it rehashes a lot of the Allen’s themes, specifically the idea that life has no meaning and you just have to enjoy it in the best way you can. The film only confirms my feeling that Woody has run out of ideas and he’s just repeating himself. That wouldn’t be so bad if the jokes were great. I do think he has a knack for witty dialogue and one-liners (maybe he should do TV), but the jokes or delivery just didn’t work. I tend to think the delivery was the problem because Larry David, who plays the role for Mostel, was not good at all. Evan Rachel Wood is good as a the ditzy blond, but it’s not enough.

Whatever Works
I thought it was fun, engaging, and entertaining. It was certainly flawed: I felt Woody Allen made a couple of too-easy choices, but can’t complain too much about them. Larry David is not an actor, but he was good enough in this role, ‘though he was really unsteady in the first third of the film. Evan Rachel Wood was quite appealing, and I look forward to seeing her in other flicks. 6/10

Whatever Works is the new film by Woody Allen and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Larry David goes on these tirades that were quite funny or quite sad, but mostly funny. I periodically burst out in laughter throughout the movie. Something about the look of the film reminded me a lot of Vicky Christina Barcelona. In that movie there was a narrator (voice over). In Whatever Works, Larry David sort of takes on that role. There are other similarities between these movies, now that I think about it. Some superficial ones (like is Woody Allen fascinated by menage a trois?) and some deeper ones about how random circumstances can bring out something consciously or unconsciously hidden within us.

Very Woody Allen. New York, intellectual, a pretty young thing, tirades and flawed, quirky characters.

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