17 June 2009

Whatever Works

Written & Directed by: Woody Allen
Full credits at IMDb

Grade: 2.5/4

The worst thing about Woody's latest is Larry David. On Curb Your Enthusiasm, the improvisational Seinfeld vet has proven comically adept at playing himself, but now we know he can't play anyone else—and certainly not Woody Allen. The two come out of very different traditions in Jewish humor. For the first half of Whatever Works, David is downright awful: You can see him stuttering, struggling to stall so he can remember the script. Furthermore, his stiff and unconvincing line readings of Allen's idiosyncratic dialogue ring false (much as David's writing suffered coming out of Steven Weber's mouth in Sour Grapes). And it's impossible to buy the crusty Costanza-model as a Nobel-level physicist with a knack for literary allusion. That schlemiel?

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