Quickcard Review Whatever Works
Directed by: Woody Allen Cast: Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr. Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: June 26, 2009
Plot: Boris (David) is a self-declared genius who complains about society to no end. Melody (Wood) is a Southern belle who comes along and somehow falls for the man. These opposites attract, at least until her mother (Clarkson) shows up.
Who’s It For? Fans of classic Woody Allen films and people who love Larry David. That's the whole list.
Allen wrote this film in the 70s. It feels like it. This is classic Allen, with Boris talking right to the camera to start it off. If you've laughed with Allen before, you'll be in good hands with David stepping into the lead role. It's like David is Allen's cranky father. You can imagine Allen delivery every line himself, but David adds a little bit more annoyance and anger to the performance.
Performance might be the key word here. These are characters, all of them, especially the dim Melody. At first the accent Wood puts on to play the little innocent lady seems to be too much, but just like Mira Sorvino in The Mighty Aphrodite you eventually come around.
Boris is a former Columbia teacher of "string theory," but now he teaching children how to play cheese (so of the funniest moments). When Melody shows up on his doorstep, there's no reason he should take her in, but ... whatever works.
Allen is a complainer. David is an über-complainer. If you're on the fence, it should be because you're worried about laughing. Trust me, you will ... unless of course you're not a huge Allen or David fan. It's an acquired taste that's not for everyone. There's a reason Allen's comedies don't rake it in at the box office. But for those wanting to see David limp around and see his view of "the glass is probably covered with diseases so who cares if it's half empty or half full," then go along for this ride.
Final Score: 7/10