I used to be a big Woody Allen fan. Were I to pick what I believe was his best (meaning, finely crafted film art) it would be Crimes and Misdemeanors, starring Martin Landau. (Rotten Tomatoes gives this one a 92%).
Unfortunately I believe that Woody Allen should have gone the route of cartoonists Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and Gary Larson (The Far Side) and quit before his creativity ran out. Allen chose not to take this route and released yet another embarrassing film Whatever Works, starring Larry David.
Now I am a total fan of Larry David. We are deep into catching up on his HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. However I think David, the creator of the Seinfeld TV comedy, is best when he is performing his own work. Apparently the script for Whatever Works was penned by Allen back in the 1970’s for Zero Mostel, but then shelved when Mostel died before it could be brought to film. After seeing this film I can only assume that Allen did no more than blow the dust off the script and hand it to Larry David.
Perhaps David needed the work or was thrilled to work with the legendary director… I don’t know, but I can’t imagine in his heart of hearts, David doesn’t secretly regret his involvement in this dog.
The whole story line is embarrassingly cliché; older man marries a much younger woman who is attracted to his intellect. A series of unbelievable convolutions occur involving the young bride‘s mother, father and their awakening from small town neieve religious simple folk to uptown New York hipsters. Everyone ends up living happy ever after in the end. Oh please!!
Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a generous (by my standards) 46%. Sometimes I wonder if film reviewers actually watch the films they review or just peek at the trailers.
Woody needs to retire and rest on the reputation for his good works. Larry David needs to keep performing his OWN work. And Whatever Works needs to quickly go to DVD so Target will have something to put in its $3.99 bargain table near the exit.