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Whatever Works (2009)

Larry David , Evan Rachel Wood , Woody Allen  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson, Conleth Hill, Ed Begley Jr.
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LMV7RA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,006 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Whatever Works" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Woody Allen's cynical sensibility so superbly dovetails with Larry David's acerbic misanthropy, it's a wonder they haven't worked together before. But no matter: fans of Allen, David, and especially David's Curb Your Enthusiasm will delight in the ability of Whatever Works to find humor in the darkest and most abrasive of life's corners.

The crux of this odd love story involves the unlikely friendship between David's character (the brilliant, kvetchy Boris) and the Southern beauty queen with a heart of gold and a brain of wide-open spaces, Melodie (the always-surprising Evan Rachel Wood). Boris takes on Melodie as a tutorial project, showing her the bleak ways of the world, and Melodie takes care of Boris with crayfish and Fred Astaire movies. There are other memorable performances by Patricia Clarkson, as Melodie's deeply religious and tightly wound mama, and Ed Begley Jr, as her husband, a Southerner slightly to the right of George Wallace. The parents come to the big city to reclaim their wayward lamb, and when the Southerners meet the New Yorkers, sparks fly--in ways both good and slightly scary.

The film works because of the unlikely chemistry between the two stars and because of David's unflinchingly dyspeptic portrayal, which--while not exactly cozy to watch--is undeniably brilliant. The two find that their oddball friendship helps each of them find a little more meaning in their lives. "Whatever works"--a simple but profound recipe for happiness. --A.T. Hurley

Product Description

Whatever Works explores the relationship between a crotchety misanthrope, Boris (Larry David) and a naïve, impressionable young runaway from the south, Melody (Evan Rachel Wood). When Melody's uptight parents arrive in New York to rescue her, they are quickly drawn into wildly unexpected romantic entanglements. Everyone discovers that finding love is just a combination of lucky chance and appreciating the value of "whatever works."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
After a string of movies set in Europe, Woody Allen triumphantly returns to his beloved New York for Whatever Works. Since Allen releases a new film each year, it's hit-or-miss with him (rightfully so). This film got less-than-enthusiastic reviews and, as such, I wasn't expecting much from it...But the critics really misrepresented this film, as this is one of Woody's best comedies.

Larry David (of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame) plays Boris Yellnikoff, a caustic, retired physicist who walks with a limp due to a failed suicide attempt. Now, Boris teaches chess to "zombie-minded imbeciles." Evan Rachel Wood plays Melodie, a naïve runaway from Mississippi, who stumbles into Boris' life...Against all odds, the two marry and Melodie's parents (played wonderfully by Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley, Jr.) both, separately, find her.

I'm not familiar with Larry David's previous work, so I don't know how much of this performance carries over from his own persona; but David is playing the Woody Allen role here to perfection. David perfectly captures the neurotic, arrogant genius that is Boris and recites Allen's dialogue as if it comes straight from his own thoughts. Of course, this is a film filled with great performances as can be expected from a film by Woody Allen. Begley, Jr. is particularly surprising as Melodie's father...And while some may not be too impressed by Wood's performance as Melodie, she's very convincing and cute.

This is truthfully one of Allen's best comedies and an all-around great film. The dialogue here is typical, philosophical, sarcastic Allen...But it doesn't just elicit chuckles, but full-on, laugh-out-loud laughter. It's a very intelligent film that not ONLY ranks as one of Allen's best comedies, but one of his best films.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever Works October 27, 2009
Format:DVD
Woody Allen has been a very lucky director in the history of Cinema. I can't think of any other director - with the exception, maybe, of Spielberg - that can still do "his" movies, even if they don't continuously make money. Indeed, with Allen you never know -- he can equally have a hit or a miss, but he still gets financing for his ideas. His latest, "Whatever Works," I am happy to say, is a hit. Actually more than a hit: a treasure. One the best films I have seen in a long time. It is smart and wicked, with great dialogue and very funny --Woody Allen's funny, that is, if you know what I mean: just plain good acting and inspired writing.

Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) describes himself as a "profound, sensitive soul, with an enormous grasp of the human condition," who always has nightmares about Joseph Conrad's "the horror." He is a brilliant man, who doesn't hesitate to refer to himself as a genius - he is a physicist, who specializes in Quantum mechanics. And he may be right. However, due to the nature of his character and personality, he is not easy to live with. He is divorced, and walks with a limb, because he tried to kill himself by jumping from a window. He earns a living by teaching kids how to play chess (insulting and degrading them), and getting together with his equally intellectual buddies, who patiently hear his rants about the decline of mankind. He claims that he spends his time "trying to express to cretins that, while a black man got into the White House, he still can't get a cab in New York." However, his structured life drastically changes when he meets Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood), a runaway that asked for his help at his doorstep, because she had nowhere to go. He reluctantly accepts, and invites her to stay for a couple of days.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Cranky Pants January 10, 2010
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Larry David does Mr. Cranky better than anyone and still remain funny. Pessimism as comedy is an art form when done right.

A totally different movie. Nice easy pace. Soundtrack is really good as Woody's movies usually have. Only a few laugh out loud moments for me but I had a smile the whole movie. Larry's line as they enter the photo gallery was hilarious. Just plain interesting movie. Really liked this one. Something NEW is almost always worth an extra star. E R Wood was really charming and with a very good supporting cast.

I hope Jessica Hecht gets more movies roles, very good presence but just a small part here. IMBD lists more roles coming up for her. Hope they're bigger. Woody is really good but some of his movies miss for me. Not this one. Worth seeing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, witty and with a good existential take on life December 13, 2012
Format:Blu-ray
An incredibly well thought out film that confirmed a long held conviction of mine about what is really important about life. What is really important about life? Nothing specificaly. Whatever works is important for each of us. No prejudices, no preconceptions, no hook-ups. Of course, a corollary of this theory is that what is important for someone is not important for another.

Of course we all have out different tastes but I really don't understand those who say this movies is not funny. It is for me. Extremely. Witty, quick, and well maybe I am thick but I did not find it predictable at all.

I do agree with those who argued Woody might as well have played the protagonist's role. Why did he not? David acts so much like Woody. He actually even sort of looks like him. When I first saw the movie I assumed Allen was acting and took me several minutes to realize it was not him on the set!

Strongly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The NRA Works!
I could easily rip on this film, and rip on Woody Allen, just for the mere fact that he rips on the NRA in "Whatever Works. Read more
Published 22 days ago by California Dreaming
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious Neurotic and the best Yiddish Humor brilliantly...
This is real Yiddish theater based New York on Film.
Absolutely hilarious neurotic brilliant
character and a white trash girl
are the center of this show. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Low Hertz
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel-Good Movie
This film stars Larry David who illustrates in this feel-good film that in this life, find whatever happiness you can, just so long as it is legal and no one gets hurt because a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Author of Every Man Wants More Than One
3.0 out of 5 stars His WHAT works?
This was one of Woody Allen's final, or maybe the final film he shot in New York City before decamping to Europe and beyond. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Larry Benjamin
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely One of My Favorite Movies Everrrrr: I Love It!!!
This is One of those movies for the Mind, Heart and Soul :D I Absolutely Love All about this Move: Thank You to the Genius of Woody Allen & to the Amazing Actors & Actresses!!!!
Published 3 months ago by G
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh! Painful
I like Larry David but he was unbearable in this one. Detestable character. Wished he would stop talking so I turned it off halfway through with the blessing of my fellow... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Charlotte Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!
Excellent cast, great monologues (and dialogues) - absolutely hilarious! My favorite Woody Allen's masterpiece. I can watch it over and over again!
Published 4 months ago by Carrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic for Some Good, Old-Fashioned Wit & Sarcasm!!
This is a surprisingly entertaining entry from Woody Allen! It's sort of a throw-back to his earlier 'funny' movies of the 1970's = which I guess is not such a coincidence - since... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Book & Music thief, from HI
4.0 out of 5 stars Where Woody Ends and Larry Begins or Vice Versa
Woody Allen is unmatched as the East Coast intellectual king of pessimism. He's tried to pass that mantle in his films to other actors like Kenneth Branagh, Will Ferrell, and Owen... Read more
Published 5 months ago by David Baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Larry David fans will love this movie
I had forgotten I saw this movie before. Just purchased based on Larry David who I think is the Woody Allen of our times. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael E. Lewis
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what regoin is this disc? will i be able to play it on my aussie machine?
This will be a North American region 1 DVD. They won't play on an australian region 4 player, or a European region 2 for that matter. Unless you own a sone free player like I do, you'll have to wait until it is released in Australia. Which I'm sure it will be, sooner or later.
Sep 8, 2009 by MORTEN AASTAD |  See all 3 posts
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