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Movie Review: Whatever Works

Alternate Title: Rants, Tirades and Kvetching

Story: So what's not to like? Another New York based film by the prolific writer and director Woody Allen that features a classic misanthrope, who is a self-declared, almost nominated for a Nobel Prize, genius who never met an issue that he does not have an opinion about and laughs - lots and lots of laughs.

This Woody Allen film mostly takes place downtown in Manhattan rather than his usual Upper West Side tony locales. The change of venue brings a refreshing vision to his longtime production designer, Santo Loquasto and it works.

We meet curmudgeon Boris as he breaks the fourth wall while speaking with his friends to address us, the theater audience. He opines about the randomness of life, the miserable destiny of the human race and why we are all doomed. I was hooked from the get go. Our grumpy old man meets the sweet, Southern, young, needy, unschooled Melody. He takes her in and his life takes an unexpected twist.

Along the way we see how chance occurrences affect the lives of all of the other characters in the story. It is a breezy, unusually optimistic film for Woody and a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes. Check it out and have a laugh on me.

Check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAgp2Bgrl0g

Acting: Larry David as Boris was just fine as the stand-in for Woody Allen. He makes me laugh. Evan Rachel Wood as young Melody was surprisingly delightful. Patricia Clarkson as Melody's mother, Marietta can do no wrong. And it is always good to see Ed Begley Jr. on the big screen.

Trivia: Woody Allen was born as Allen Konigsberg. December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. Nearly all of his films start and end with white-on-black credits, set in the Windsor typeface, set to jazz music, without any scrolling. He speaks French, won't watch his films after they are released and was suspended from NYU.

Predilection: I am a big fan of Woody Allen movies. Larry David makes me laugh and NYC is my favorite locale for films.

Critters: None

Food: Lots of food prepared and food shopping in Chinatown. Meals ranged from Cajun crawfish to pasta.

Sex Spectrum: Funny bed scenes.

Blatant Product Placement: Pellegrino, Poland Springs.

Soundtrack: Typical Woody Allen.

Opening Titles: As usual the beginning has white-on-black credits, set in the Windsor typeface, set to jazz music, without any scrolling.

Visual Art: NYC looks terrific.

Theater Audience: This film was playing on three screens in the NYC theater, the Angelika. Our 11AM Sunday morning showing was crowded.

Weather: Lovely

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I did not drift.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: For a complete list of Woody Allen films to rent go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Woody_Allen_films

Length: 90 minutes