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Movie Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Alternate Title: Delicioso

Story: Writer and director Woody Allen delivers his latest film hitting many of his signature notes. We get to meet wealthy people living in beautiful spaces, eating fabulous food and drinking expensive wine all while anguishing over love, life and the meaning of it all. If you like these familiar themes you will adore the fourth in his string of European venues. This time out we are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world - Barcelona. He has filled this film with two of Spains' living treasures, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Ole!

Vicky and Cristina are young Americans spending their summer in Barcelona. Vicky, the stable, predictable student of Catalan culture is to be married to her Docker wearing fiance in the fall. Cristina is the impetuous one who is looking for something - just not sure what it is. While sumptuously dining, they meet Juan Antonio, a Spanish painter who invites them to fly away for the weekend to sightsee, dine, drink and make love. And so the story continues..

Will they go with this irresistible man? Will they take the plunge and let life take a different turn? What will happen to their directed paths afterward? I won't spoil the fun for you. Go see this delicious film, watch combustible Spanish actors, see the beautiful city of Barcelona and have a grand ride.

Enjoy the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR2sK2sv6IE

Acting: Javier Bardem as Juan Antonio is, as always, terrific. I have praised him before and can only say ditto. Penélope Cruz as Maria Elena, is better than ever. Her appearance on screen with Bardem knocks all the other actors visually to the side. Scarlett Johansson as Cristina does not have the heft in her acting arsenal to compete with Cruz and Bardem. English actor Rebecca Hall as Vicky, does an adequate job in her role. Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, and Chris Messina are the three supporting actors who move the story forward with ease.

Trivia: Javier Bardem comes from the Spanish family equivalent of the American Barrymores. His Best Actor nomination for Before Night Falls (2000) made him the first Spanish actor to receive an Academy Award nomination and his Best Supporting Actor victory for No Country for Old Men (2007) made him the first Spanish actor to win an Academy Award. Ten years ago, a stranger in a disco asked him his name. When Javier replied, the man punched him in the face for no apparent reason, breaking his nose. Has four Goya Awards (the Spanish equivalent of the Oscar). Bardem is also a painter in real life.

Predilection: I like Bardem, Barcelona and Woody Allen.

Critters: Caged birds

Food: There are many scenes with yummy looking Spanish fare. You will get hungry.

Sex Spectrum: For Woody Allen, there is quite a bit of sex. Little showing, but lots of implication of sex. Then of course there is the much talked about menage a trois or as they say in Spanish - hogar tiene tres.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Beautiful Spanish guitar and music replace Woody Allen's Manhattan sounds of Gershwin.

Opening Titles: Same Woody Allen treatment as always. White type over black background with the cast appearing in alphabetical order.

Visual Art: Wonderful eye candy. Barcelona, Gaudi, golden saturated light. I want to go back again.

Theater Audience: Crowded

Weather: The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: 0

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I suspect Penelope Cruz will get a best supporting nod.

Nit Picking: The ever present narrator was a bit annoying.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. Woody Allen's three other European films are Match Point, Scoop and Cassandra's Dream.

Length: 100 minutes