Whatever Works really works
Whatever Works is the new comedy from writer/director Woody Allen. The film takes place in New York, (did you honestly think a Woody Allen movie could take place anywhere else? Fuggetaboutit!), with Larry David as the lead, Boris Yellnikoff.
Boris, a retired physicist who was once almost nominated for a Nobel Prize, leaves his wife because she’s too perfect for him and moves into a walk-up in Chinatown. He spends half of his time teaching chess to “inchworms,” and the other half lecturing his friends and the film audience (although his friends don’t know what audience he’s talking about). Through his ranting, Boris tells us about his brilliance and the stupidity he confronts everyday with the people he meets. Basically, Boris hates everything and everyone. Although for as down on life as Boris may seem, he does say that when it comes to love, you have to grab on to whatever you can, hence, Whatever Works.
A Southern runaway, Melodie St. Ann Celestine (Evan Rachel Wood), shows up outside Boris’s door, begging for food. Initially, he tells Melodie to be on her way, but he ends up inviting her in to give her a bite to eat. From there on, Melodie stays with Boris and her simple Southern, optimistic views on the world meet head on with his intellectual, pessimistic outlook. Things really get interesting when Melodie’s parents, Patricia Clarkson as her mother, Marietta, and Ed Begley Jr. as her father, John, make their way to New York.
I’m a big fan of rants and this film has tons of them coming from two of the very best in the business in Woody Allen and Larry David. There’s almost nothing more hilarious than seeing someone give their point of view in a fast paced monologue, which David is a god at. It’s incredible that a man with virtually no acting experience is able to be so fabulous in a lead part that almost constantly has him on the screen. We’re only half way through the year, but at this point, I’d be very surprised to NOT see David get an Oscar nod for his performance.
While, Boris is the brains of Whatever Works, Wood as Melodie is the heart. Wood has continually grown as an actress and may be at her best as the young, naïve, small town girl seeing the cup as half full. She shines along side David, and the two actually appeared to have very good chemistry with one another on screen.
This film has you hooked from David’s opening tirade and keeps you laughing through out. This movie is definitely one of the year’s best. Simply put, Whatever Works, works.