Whatever Works [FILM REVIEW]

whatever-works-movie-posterFilm: Whatever Works
Release: today
Director: Woody Allen
Rating: PG-13

Love is always in the air in the realm of Woody Allen. The nervous, fast tongued writer/actor/director chose to step out from in front of the camera once again for his latest film Whatever Works, but managed to find a perfect replacement for himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Larry David. The story, written in the 70’s and given a splash of modern politics and speech, finds Allen up to his old tricks, but with a solid message that is needed in these times and plenty of laughs to keep us entertained.

Works focuses on David’s character, Boris Yelnakov, who chooses to abandon his lush lifestyle to live as a bohemian in his older years, alone. However, upon meeting a runaway from “the South,” played by the beautiful Even Rachel Wood, is taken on a late life journey through the throes of love. It’s nowhere near uncharted territory for Allen to fixate on the older man winning over the affection of a much younger woman, but given the time period in which the film was written, it seems only fitting to work under such circumstances.

As usual, the plot, which take all of 20min. to set up it seems, takes a back seat to the characters who truly make the film. David is Allen incarnate, ranting and raving throughout on various topics that usually involve the stupidity of people from the south or the bleak existence of mankind. This provides laughter from start to finish as even the most serious scenes are brightened by David’s narcissism. The character of Boris does have an interesting back story though. He’s painted as a once great mind [he often refers to himself as a genius], but after becoming a victim to panic attacks and failing at suicide [after being left by his wife], becomes a bitter man who seems slightly derangement throughout and both constantly and openly breaks the fourth wall [while all the other present characters ask each other who he’s talking to].

Outside of the lead, we’re given the dim witted Southern Belle [Wood], her sexually oppressed parents [whose side story is ridiculously amusing], another male love interest for wood, and a few other one off characters who are both entertaining and intriguing. Allen makes solid attempts to flush out each characters story while tying everything and everyone together and it works pretty well throughout.

The only real problem with Works is that, like most comedies that try to have some form of a serious underlining, it tends to drag in the middle a bit. This is helped however, with the introduction of Wood’s parents [at separate times] who have their own plot lines that get us back into the picture. This is the same trick we saw from Allen in Vicky Christina Barcelona when he introduced Selma Hayek to us all as the love story began to slack.

In the end, the thing that seals Whatever Works is the message of equality it evokes. I like to consider myself pretty welcoming of all walks of life, but Allen tries quite hard to give you at least one style of shock relationship to get everyone whether it be gay, a three-way romance, young love, old love, even mention of bestiality [which Allen doesn’t endorse, but it goes with the driving idea behind the film and the character’s actions]. It’s not the most ingenious plot that Allen has brought us, nor the most intriguing film you’ll see this year, but it has a lot of heart and characters that you’ll carry with you for a long while. It’s worth your time, even if just to hear the message.

Score: 7.5/10

James Shotwell
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One Response to “Whatever Works [FILM REVIEW]”

  1. I can’t but agree.I always wanted to write in my site something like that but I guess you’r faster.