Two couples discover the grass may not always be greener on the other side in Woody Allen’s breezy comedy on wry, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
. Hoping to relive the pleasures of youth, Alfie Shepridge (Anthony Hopkins) dumps his wife of 40 years (Gemma Jones) and pursues a young call girl (Lucy Punch). So when daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) develops a crush on her boss (Antonio Banderas) and husband Roy (Josh Brolin) becomes obsessed with the beauty (Freida Pinto) who lives across the way, the entire clan’s fantasies take on reality as their passions not only drive them out of their marriages, but out of their minds as well.
It doesn't take a Nostradamus to see that the interconnected lives in Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
are going to be troubled indeed--and yet the clairvoyant hired by newly divorced Helena (Gemma Jones) fails to predict the complications to come. Well, then there wouldn't be a movie, would there? Helena's restless old goat of an ex-husband, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins), has taken up with a loud hooker (Lucy Punch, Dinner for Schmucks
), who he somehow believes to be his dream girl. Helena's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) is enduring her marriage to blocked novelist Roy (Josh Brolin) while growing enchanted by her boss, a gallery owner (Antonio Banderas) with an accent. Meanwhile, Roy is spending too little time writing and too much time mooning over the knockout (Slumdog Millionaire
's Freida Pinto) who lives in the apartment across the street. Allen's morose-go-round spreads itself across this collection of potentially intriguing people, yet the individual scenes feel slack and under-rehearsed, and the London locations are basically irrelevant. And while the cast is stocked with talented players, almost everybody looks slightly miscast, so the film doesn't seem to have an anchor anywhere. It comes to an interesting ending, but by then Allen's purpose seems increasingly casual--when what this roundelay really needs is urgency. --Robert Horton