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Whatever Works [Blu-ray]

3.6 out of 5 stars 197 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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."

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 Harris, 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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Adam Brooks, Lyle Kanouse, Clifford Lee Dickson, Yolonda Ross, Carolyn McCormick
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LMV7QG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,918 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Whatever Works [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua Miller VINE VOICE on October 25, 2009
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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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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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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Format: Amazon 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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