Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Woody Allen coasts by with a nice romantic ad campaign for a city that erected a life-size statue to him in 2003. It's a Mario Perillo tour commercial for Spain with a cast of enjoyable actors mumbling things I already forgot.

But it's hard not to like Scarlett Johannson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, and Penelope Cruz. Watching them in romantic entanglements as Woody tries to explain relationship wisdom with a hint of sarcastic humor about New York City types is enjoyable, but like Cassandra's Dream, this isn't his best work. He even got lazy with the title. Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

His dialogue is still good, but he uses the lazy device of a narrator, who sounds like he's reciting the notes Woody wrote on a bar napkin when coming up with the movie. And certainly the film is beautiful, but Antonio (Bardem) is showing the title gals (I can't remember which is Vicky and which is Cristina) the sites, and let's face it, it's not hard to make Barcelona and Oviedo look gorgeous.
Throughout the film, we'll learn that woman want stability but also like danger, and that men fear death and thus put their weenie in as many women as are willing. And that sometimes, we don't know what we want, but we can learn what we don't want. It's an enjoyable watch but other than the setting and use of Bardem and Cruz, this is nothing new for Woody, and it's unfortunate that it won best comedy at the Globes when Happy-Go-Lucky and In Bruges are so much better, fresher, and made by people who haven't been sucked off by the awards judges for so long.

3.5 out of 5 woodies.

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