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Whatever Works: But will it work well?

October 19, 2009

I wouldn’t usually be attracted to a film such as this. A story about an old, unattractive, world-hating ‘genius’ and his ability to attract a slow southern 21-year-old blonde is not very realistic or flattering for the female sex. It’s a bit of a leap for anyone who isn’t rich or Woody Allen (God only knows how that happened!). Whatever Works (2009) is not the most exciting narrative to ever appear on the movie screen, but it is entertaining.

Whatever Works (2009) is a Woody Allen written and directed film. If you didn’t like any films written, directed or staring Woody Allen, then this is a miss. Why? Because the protagonist Boris Yellnikoff, played by Larry David, is just a tall version of Woody Allen. In addition, Whatever Works (2009) was a script Woody Allen had written, many decades ago, and for the stage. With a few elements from the sixties and seventies remaining, the play was adapted to the modern world. For example, Obama was mentioned in the opening sequence. No matter how modern the script might be, it is still a Woody Allen dream story. Throughout the entire film I kept imagining – if this were a play, the spotlight would go here and here, Boris’s friends would sit around a table near the right side of the stage and spotlights would focus on them after every important moment and the stage would be set in Boris’s apartment. I don’t believe the play was well adapted to film, but being a fan of the stage, I didn’t mind.

I have to admit, I was amazed that Larry David was able to play someone who wasn’t Larry David! But saying that, Boris is still quite similar to Larry David and has inherited his glass-half-empty approach (displayed in the TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm).

OK, I have to confess my one HATE for this film- and all films that possess this quality. No film except for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) should be able to get away with it. I speak of the evil that is film character’s that acknowledge their audience. Speaking to us, telling us their deepest thoughts, knowing we pay good money to see them live their life. For me, it ruins the spectacular fantasy that is cinema.

It’s not a film I would watch again at the cinema, but I will defiantly see it when it is released onto DVD. Although so far, I have only written negative thoughts about this film, I truly enjoyed it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’m not sure if it’s because of the character Melodie St Ann Celestine (played brilliantly by Even Rachel Wood), or if it’s the fact that I had found all the characters quite special.

I don’t mind Woody Allen and I do find his style unique. But like most of his films, at least the ones I have seen, you are left with mixed emotions. It all works out in the end, but at what cost? I found myself accepting that this relationship consisting of an annoying old and a pretty young thing could be possible, but in the end, the story had other plans for me…

Check it out if you can, but if you cant, do remember it in a couple of months when it appears in your video store.

Till next time,

S

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