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Whatever Works [Blu-ray]
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on March 7, 2014
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 Wilson to name a few with middling to little success. With this film Larry David not only matches the Woodman in the area of misanthropy but may surpass him. That said, a little of this acidity goes a long way and fortunately this film has Evan Rachel Wood's sweet Mississippi beauty queen to temper the angst. The film takes an unfortunate detour when it introduces about two-third of the way through Wood's fundamentalist Christian parents played by Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley, Jr. It's here that Allen pontificates his love the one you're with mantra which, when you think about it, may be the root of Allen's current public relations problems. Regardless, this is a slight diversion that Allen completists may embrace and perplex others.
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on January 28, 2014
I like Larry David, and I like Woody Allen's movies. My thought was maybe these two guys could team up and create a synergy that is greater than the sum of the parts. This didn't quite happen. Too much Woody Allen and not enough Larry David for my tastes. I really grew rather tired of the main character (played by Larry) announcing how he was soooo intelligent and everyone else was an "inch worm" or sub-human compared to himself. OK we get it Woody: the character is a genius, so let's move on already - stop it with that constant annoying talk from the genius. Insert the requisite classical music and jazz to inform us how cultured Woody is and we're all sub-humans who can't appreciate the refined tastes of a genius, sprinkle in the reference to the old hag who rains on his parade, and you've got a lame story. The ending was predictable, and nauseatingly cheerful - everyone gets a partner they love and enjoy and live happily ever afterwards. I made myself watch the whole thing because of Larry David (I can't get enough of this guy). Larry tried but couldn't lift this movie out of the humdrums - he needed help from the writing. I'm giving it 4 stars for Larry's presence, and acting ability.
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on June 22, 2017
I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I LOVE Woody Allen & even age hasn't taken him down. This shows us many forms of our hypocrisy & how we handle it; Larry David @ times talks to the viewer like the actors did in THE OFFICE w/Steve Carrell. Gotta get!!
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on September 30, 2017
There seems to be a desperate quality to this film. The audience must be lectured repeatedly about the supposed superiority of neurotic liberals' ideas. Unfunny cheap shots at everything with which he disagrees politically. A near child falling in love with an old cranky suicidal man. It seems like Woody is desperate to tell everyone how great he is and he's worried we won't get it because we are too stupid. Larry is much better in his own show but it is interesting to see how he matches with Woody's worldview. Why couldn't they come up with something non-obvious, more realistic and original?
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on February 28, 2014
This is really a cerebral film in many ways. The plot sounded good, involving a narcissistic brilliant man who undertakes a September to December romance with a young Southern belle in New York City. The characters are stereotypic and the ending is PC and somewhat contrived. Larry David plays the part well and some of his monologues are intriguing. You really need to see the movie again to appreciate its wit. Overall it isn't a compelling movie in the sense that you will not be missing a profound moral truth if you don't see it. On the other hand, on the "I like Woody Allen Movies no matter what anyone says" scale, it would be an 8/10. If you don't care for Woody's kind of humor, it is probably closer to a 3. I am a charter member of the former scale.
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on January 7, 2010
"Whatever works" has Larry David playing an obnoxious cynic named Boris limping around in this Woody Allen movie. It's a lethal combination because David plays a very negative, cynical, pessimistic, nasty piece of work and add to that the neuroses and whining of the Woody Allen persona, and you've got a lot of movie watchers, turned off by the negativity, looking for the Stop button on their DVD controls. David plays an irritating, opinionated loudmouth who can't shut up. People, to him, are not basically decent. There are stretches when he talks directly to the audience, a device often resorted to when a script is in trouble.
Boris says, "The universe is winding down, why shouldn't we?" David has divorced his wife, is subject to late night panic attacks, and has attempted suicide. He meets a young, attractive homeless girl, Melody, and lets her stay at his place. He says he's a genius, and she's a simple Southern girl who is impressed by his gab though the audience will find it tedious. She wins him over, he falls for her, and they get married.
Her mother, estranged from the girl's father, shows up, and, of course, hates this older man that her daughter has married. Soon the mother goes bananas and becomes a free-loving bohemian. Eventually the father shows up and he, too, goes off the deep end.
As it goes along, David calms down, and the flick has some funny jokes and situations. It's very much a New York movie in the mold of most of Woody's work. His films are for a limited audience, and this one may be for an even more limited audience than usual. A happy ending is tacked on, but it's a quirky one.
Despite its grating, loud beginning, stick with it and it may grow on you. No one other than Boris sees the audience he's talking to, and he says, "I'm the only one who sees the whole picture."
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on January 16, 2017
This is not one of Woody Allen's better works. The acting seemed unrehearsed and flimsy. It was clearly a stage for Mr. Allen's voice, showing his views on life, his criticism of people and his need to be recognized as someone larger and smarter than he really is. The best part of the movie, however, was the culmination after the climax.
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on March 14, 2017
Incredibly boring even for Woody Allen
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on October 14, 2016
I was surprised this got the mixed reviews it did. The collaboration between Larry David and Woody Allen is nothing short of brilliant. David may be the only comedian today with a big enough persona to play a Woody Allen protagonist. The cast is fine as usual, but he is just fantastic. The movie is charming and romantic--a sweet comedy with a bunch of misfits who somehow find one another. This one got by me somehow--I guess because it got poor reviews. I'm amazed. It seems to me this is Woody Allen at his finest.
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on February 28, 2013
But that being said, the movie was great. Woody and Larry David express to a degree my perception of life as I know it. Part of that is that strange things happen in the interactions of people. You can mean well and put your energy out into life and you can get some unexpected results. Your intention may be positive and the perception can be quite negative and very different than what you expected. Then more problems come from you ever setting out in the first place. Really, you have to get up every morning just to see what will happen in life as no matter how much we plan, there will be unexpected twists. And once you think you know something, watch out for the sky falling. Fascinating.
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