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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Whatever Works - Film Review - Larry David - Rachel Adams

"Whatever Works" is written and directed by Woody Allen and stars Larry David.  Larry David plays a retired physicist, Boris Yellnikoff. He lives in New York City.  He is a tired, neurotic, suicidal, genius and disgusted with just about everything
and everyone one.  He thinks just about everything is stupid.  He is very vocal about his feelings and expresses them through a number of literal and thinly veiled monologues.

In between Yellnikoff's rants he meets homeless Melody (Rachel Evan Wood).  Melody is much, much younger (I'd say by 40+ years). She is bubbly, naive and not so bright.  Improbably, they fall in love and marry.

Whatever Works feels much like a play.  There is no sweep to the film, the scenes are played out in small spaces,  and the dialog is somewhat more animated that you'd see in a typical film.

Larry David is perfectly cast for this film.  Larry David is cynical as ever and there are times when you want to pat him on the back and other times where I wanted to turn off the film because he is so wonderfully depressing.

Rachel Evan Wood plays the naive young woman, Melody. Wood plays her perfectly.  I do not think the character of Melody is easy to play. Melody has fallen off track in life. She is naive and uneducated but she is also eager to learn. This character is a terrific mover and shaker in the film.  Wood's performance reminds me so much of  Amy Adam's terrific and not as easy as it seems role of Ashley in the movie Junebug (my review here).

Supporting cast is very good as well and played by veteran actors.  Notably Patricia Clarkson. Clarkson plays Melody's mother, does a fine job.  I don't think Clarkson has ever played a bad role in her acting career.

The theme of Whatever Works dare I say, is existentialism?  That might be too strong a word but maybe not?  Throughout the film characters are struggling to find what works for them in life.  Basically, if it makes you more happy, it must be good.

Whatever Works is very theatric.  It often feels more like a  play than a movie.

If you like quirky films or Woody Allen films in general, you should check this film out.


PG 13

1 hour 34 minutes

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