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Sunday, June 30

Whatever works

Woody Allen is a witty little man, with crazy hair and thick glasses, who loves to gesticulate his feelings and interminably argue irony and fate. Whether he chooses crime dramas or sexy comedies to express his cynicism and misanthropy, Woody Allen has a certain kind of charm and humour that never fails to get me. His idiosyncrasies and restlessness are voiced in the person of Boris Yelnikoff (Larry David), a chess teacher with a quick temper, who ends up marrying a stray girl from Mississippi (Evan Rachel Wood).

Melody St. Anne Celestine is a runaway from uptight parents and traditional values, a good-looking, yet simple-minded creature who develops a crush on Boris and gets under his skin with her ingenuity. She is sincere and totally embraces his greatness and married life so things seem to go on perfectly until first, her mother Marietta, played by Patricia Clarkson, comes along, shortly followed by her guilty husband (Ed Begley Jr). Melody's parents have split up after their daughter's disappearance due to the father's indiscretions. Their arrival to New York works as an epiphany for both of them: Marietta discovers her passion for photography and taste for threesome affairs whereas the father comes out of the closet and finds himself a nice man.

The movie is full of ironical dialogues and outspoken fears, of good performances, such as that of Evan Rachel Woods- versatile and energetic- and Patricia Clarkson's- a mixture of  and loud expressions of touchy subjects such as homosexuality, marriage, menages-a-trois or old age. It is not the most impressive Woody Allen movie- I personally prefer his malcontent discourse rather than other feeble impersonations- as it is a mixture of real life situations and far-fetched scenarios, a mixture of fantasy and reality that fails to get to you. You simply cannot make people part of your routine out of boredom or other options, and then go for whatever works, in full harmony with the whole world. It is as if Woody Allen has turned into an old, loving character who is trying to contaminate us with his fervent enthusiasm and spunk.

Larry David delivers the credible performance of a loner whose life revolves around poverty, unhappiness and a total lack of faith in human beings. Taken by bits, some parts make sense and really deliver, but the movie is neither a comedy of manners nor a character comedy; it is a bogus about the potential of unexpected love and the endless possibilities we can offer ourselves in the pursuit of happiness. Except for the insults that constantly pour out of Boris's mouth and some artificial twists of narrative, the movie could probably have been more successful as a play. It is a neurotic Woody Allen piece that won't blow your mind but there are definitely some parts that will cushion the blow! As Boris puts it:''Okay, this works. Whatever.''

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