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“Whatever Works” {Blu-ray}-(Wayne)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Sony Home Video
Genre:
Comedy
Release Date:
10/27/09
Special Features:

Theatrical trailer

Review:

Normally I’m a big fan of Woody Allen but “Whatever Works” features a prophetic title; Allen seems to throw whatever he can at the screen to try and engage an indifferent audience for what has to be the worst film of his career. Allen has come back from worse situations in his personal life but not in his professional one. Using Larry David (co-creator of “Seinfeld” and star of the crankier “Curb Your Enthusiasm” ) as his onscreen alter ego IS inspired; David can be brilliant on “Curb” and this would seem to be the perfect opportunity to allow David to branch out and expand his abilities as a performer. Sadly “Whatever Works” lacks the snappy dialogue and performances that could potentially save the film and David has nothing to really work with. ***

David plays Boris a typical Allen misanthrope who suddenly find she has a heart-sort of. When he takes in Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood) a young homeless girl from the south, he falls in love with her and ends up marrying her. Melodie’s mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson one of the few bright lights in this picture and typically charming and brilliant) charges up to New York to undo the mess that she thinks Melodie has made of her life. Things become more complicated when Marietta brings in Randy (Henry Cavill) to help her with her daughter and he finds himself falling in love with Melodie as well. ***

Perhaps this should have been called “Everyone Loves Melodie” although it lacks even the most rudimentary comedic moments of a good sitcom. Everything fails in “Whatever Works” except the casting of the minor roles and Clarkson, Cavill and Wood cannot keep this leaky , creaky, old Woody Allen ship afloat (it’s based on an old screenplay that Allen has had sitting around for years). ---

Image & Sound:

One of the few choices that “Works” here are those made for the Blu-ray transfer. “Whatever” looks quite nice with nice skin tones, colors and detail that accurately capture the feel and look of New York City. The film isn’t over processed so we get a very film-like presentation of the film. Overall the transfer reflects an attitude far removed from the whatever attitude reflected in the title of the film. ---

Special Features:

This is a bare bones presentation with just the theatrical trailer. Allen still hasn’t warmed up to digital home video presentations and continues to eschew extras wanting the work to speak for itself it’s unfortunate here because “Whatever Works” reflects that if comedy is a language Allen has completely forgotten how his basic grammar.

Final Words:

The title of Allen’s latest film truly reflects the desperate attempt to make this film entertaining. “Whatever Works” remains along with Allen’s “Interiors” one of his worst films. Even Clarkson’s performance can’t save “Whatever Works”. Avoid.

 

 
 
 
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