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Whatever Works review
Whatever Works review
a Beef review
Published by da Beef
12-23-2009
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Whatever Works review


2009, directed by Woody Allen


Whenever not epitomizing the role himself, Woody Allen has always found appropriate actors to portray his neurotic, obsessive, and pessimistic protagonists. I stress that Allen is the only one really fit for these roles because he is essentially playing himself, but John Cusack seemed to work alright, and now equally neurotic Larry David is giving it a shot, perhaps to better represent Allenís age. On paper he seems a great fit. What have become known as the ďLarry David momentsĒ of Curb Your Enthusiasm could theoretically work well under Allenís witful direction. But Whatever Works isnít a film about Larry David moments, despite the actorís declamatory presence. Davidís deliveries feel forced, and his chemistry with the other actors is generally awkward, in such a way that itís more like watching a screenplay than a movie.

However, I kept wondering whether or not this was intentional. Is the script supposed to feel so obtrusive? Jokes are obvious and by the climax the characters are all tidied up uncharacteristically neatly for an Allen film. Davidís character, Boris Yelnikoff, even turns to the audience to deliver a denouement so no one is left behind. He actually breaks the fourth wall frequently throughout the film, each time the rest of the cast, interestingly, aware of his apparent soliloquies, yet unaware of us, the film-watchers. He must look insane, and maybe he is. Boris is frequently named and self-proclaimed a genius, but history has shown that the line between genius and insanity is a fine one. Maybe thatís why heís such a misanthrope?

This is all too absurd to be taken seriously or at face value, so Iíll give Allen the benefit of the doubt and say he was being subversive. The point? No idea, so Iíll end this review in similar fashion:

Whatever Works
? Well, it kind of does. Whatever works for you, Woody.
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