Whilst in previous weeks we have seen Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Wilson take on the typical Woody Allen role; this weeks film seems the same of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David.
Boris (Larry David); a divorced, pessimistic and hypochondriatic genius, discovers his life to be more fulfilled when he meets a young country girl (Evan Rachel Wood).
This film is one of the strange ones where it should be good… it just isn’t. The script is well written and witty with several twists that on paper seem hilarious; however something (see ‘The Bad’ section) just doesn’t work.
The film is very odd and a little experimental; for example the opening scene breaks the fourth wall oddly with all of the characters discussing the audience which is in itself entertaining albeit feeling a little dated.
My main problem with the film is the lead performance. Woody Allen films never have fantastic special effects or camerawork; they are constantly performance driven pieces of cinema and Larry David really lacks the personality to pull of the lead role. Now don’t get me wrong I am a huge David fan and love Curb/Seinfeld and think he is amazingly funny; however Curb is generally filmed in an ad-lib style so the performance is very improvised. This is contrasted by the fact he has obviously been given a script and been asked to play a character which is beyond his capabilities; as the film plays out it seems as if David is reading lines and the entire effect is that of a rehearsed performance. This makes the film go slowly as some of the dialogue heavy scenes play on for what seems like an eternity.
This film scores highly in most the categories on the Allen scale and it is worth noting it is the first film to be set in New York.
Whatever Works is a thoroughly disappointing film which is let down by an uninspired lead performance.
1 Woody… giving a total of 5 when the Allen Scale is included.