Whatever Works (12A)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jun 22 2010

Many actors have played the Woody Allen role in Woody Allen movies besides Woody Allen, and with mixed success: for every John Cusack in ‘Bullets Over Broadway’, there’s a Kenneth Branagh in ‘Celebrity’. In Allen’s latest film, ‘Whatever Works’, Larry David assumes the role of the sharply observant, neurotically indignant, endearingly curmudgeonly nebbish, and as casting it’s a qualified success: David brings a spiky sense of mischief that sidesteps the self-pity to which the role might tend, but he also remains so aloof from the action that it can be hard to engage emotionally with the character’s predicament.

A former Columbia University physicist and Nobel near-miss, Boris Yelnikoff (David) leaps from a window in despair at his comfortably futile existence but survives (‘you can’t win ’em all’). Before long, he’s shacked up downtown with Melody (Evan Rachel Wood), a ditzy waif from Mississippi whose artless wonder threatens to chip away at his ingrained misanthropy even as the caricatured types who arrive in her wake (including parents Ed Begley Jr and Patricia Clarkson) seem determined to confirm it.

‘Whatever Works’ is Allen’s first film set in his trademark location of Manhattan since 2004 and the tone is relaxed, even if Allen’s sense of the city, once so romantic, can feel as pantomimic as his takes on London and Barcelona. The broadness of the antic characters he sends to cross Boris’s path and the crises and reversals to which they fall subject are too exaggerated to engage as drama, and those who are uncomfortable with Allen’s tendency to pair nubile girls with ageing men will find little relief. But for all its wobbles, ‘Whatever Works’ is rooted in an agreeable sensibility: life favours fate over luck more than we’d like to think, so grab whatever chances of happiness come your way.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jun 25, 2010

Duration:

92 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Woody Allen

Screenwriter:

Woody Allen

Cast:

Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson, Ed Begley Jr, Michael McKean

Cinematography:

Harris Savides

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|11
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Oscar Valdez

This is a very smart and well done film, so far the best released this year. It is sarcastic but funny, fantastic and yet realistic, not suitable for simple minds though.

Oscar Valdez

This is a very smart and well done film, so far the best released this year. It is sarcastic but funny, fantastic and yet realistic, not suitable for simple minds though.

Sutton

This is an enjoyable film, with some funny and poignant moments. If you enjoy Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld, it’s definitely worth seeing. Larry David is good in the Woody Allen role. Well put DV.

steve

The Time Out reviewer has barely understood the film at all ! The film is not about fate and luck, it is a meditation on how to approach love and life and the complex psychology of relationships at play in modern society. This film concludes we should suspend our judgemental approach to relationships, sexuality and the pursuit of happiness, which is based on social conditioning underpinned by irrelevant and absurd notions often based on the idiocies of religious beliefs, and open our minds to accepting 'whatever works' instead. There are many laugh out lod moments in the film. However, you need to have a sense of the subtleties of wordplay and irony to really appreciate the depth of the humour. This is obviously absent in the reviewer who walked out half-way through. Maybe she should stick to having her sensibilites being bludgeoned by action/horror/vampire monies. In the end this is a deeply human film and a plea for tolerance and romanticism and the poetry of the soul and ignoring the materialstic conditioning foisted upon us by a world full of inhumanity. In other words, the same kind of themes as are in many of Woody Allen's films, but expressed via scintillating writing and wit that really works and has often not come off so well in many of his other films. This is a great film. This is Woody Allen back to his best.

steve

The Time Out reviewer has barely understood the film at all ! The film is not about fate and luck, it is a meditation on how to approach love and life and the complex psychology of relationships at play in modern society. This film concludes we should suspend our judgemental approach to relationships, sexuality and the pursuit of happiness, which is based on social conditioning underpinned by irrelevant and absurd notions often based on the idiocies of religious beliefs, and open our minds to accepting 'whatever works' instead. There are many laugh out lod moments in the film. However, you need to have a sense of the subtleties of wordplay and irony to really appreciate the depth of the humour. This is obviously absent in the reviewer who walked out half-way through. Maybe she should stick to having her sensibilites being bludgeoned by action/horror/vampire monies. In the end this is a deeply human film and a plea for tolerance and romanticism and the poetry of the soul and ignoring the materialstic conditioning foisted upon us by a world full of inhumanity. In other words, the same kind of themes as are in many of Woody Allen's films, but expressed via scintillating writing and wit that really works and has often not come off so well in many of his other films. This is a great film. This is Woody Allen back to his best.

DV

If you like Larry and you like Woody, check it out. Some very funny moments and a nice injection of Larry's onscreen character. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

anna

i tnink this film is great. imo the reviewer did not get it, maybe he's too young and straight

anna

i tnink this film is great. imo the reviewer did not get it, maybe he's too young and straight

jojo

Most accurate review I've read. I wish I had seen it in time to persuade my Larry -David-loving pal we should give it a pass. If only there were a metal lower than tin to convey the sound of the dialogue. I kept trying to imagine whether it would have sounded any better emitted by Mostel - maybe on the stage. As is, it's total clunker. Fortunately, it didn't sour me on David. I watched a CYE rerun this am and it was as hysterical as ever. The one star is for Clarkson - the only reason I didn't walk out!.