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Whatever Works [Celluloid Hero]


Whatever Works (2009)


I assumed that pairing Woody Allen and Larry David would create a damn funny movie…but assumption has once again been my downfall.

I’ve seen enough Woody Allen movies to have come full-circle in my opinion on the basic plot (that being “neurotic nerdy intellectual somehow lands beautiful woman way out of his league”). At first it was funny, then it got repetitive, now I at least expect that but look for new twists or a new take or at the least a new approach by the actor taking on the role of “Woody” (Kenneth Brannagh, Jason Biggs, etc). “Whatever Works” fell flat in all areas. Larry David might’ve been the perfect fit for the “Woody” role, because they’re both similar to begin with, but for some reason that I honestly can’t quite put my finger on, it didn’t work for me. The movie never caught stride, and just seemed to jump from punchline to punchline.

I thought Evan Rachel Wood was unbearable. Half of the poor performance should be credited to Allen’s uninspired writing for her character, and the other half goes right to Wood’s awful attempt at a deep Southern accent.

It’s not to say it was the worst movie I ever watched, nor was it completely devoid of laughs. Some of the supporting characters (Michael McKean, Conleth Hill) had their moments. Still, I really can’t remember anything specific that made me laugh. The story was contrived, the ending was way too neatly packaged, and just left me pretty disappointed in both Allen & David.


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On the Celluloid  Hero scale, Whatever Works get a 4 out of 10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he’ll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below.]

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