Directed by Woody Allen
Goddamit, I wanted to like this movie. Parker Posey?! Newport, Rhode Island?! Gotta be good, right? Well…not so much. Granted, the ridiculous expectations most East Coast Jews, like myself, have for everything Woody puts out means that none of his films can truly be considered great when viewed in the shadows of his earlier work. Instead, we satisfy ourselves with “The best Woody Allen movie since (insert mediocre post-1998 film here)!” But….even given the low expectations…
…this one fails on all levels. Let us count the ways:
* The acting is wooden. I mean, HOW DO YOU MAKE PARKER POSEY WOODEN? Especially after writing a character as well-rounded as Jasmine! Phoenix flails away at trying to balance angst with funny (an act VERY few actors have been able to do when playing the part Woody would’ve played in earlier times – only Michael Caine, Owen Wilson & Larry David have pulled it off).
* The writing is a rehash of about five previous films – including (but not limited to) “Crimes and Misdemeanor”, “Manhattan Murder Mystery” and “Match Point.” And worst of all, he utilizes voiceover to tell us how the characters felt as they look back on the events unfolding before us – which makes NO sense once the ending rolls around. But, I mean, SHOW ME, don’t TELL ME! Oh, and it’s not funny in the least.
* He completely under-utilizes the Newport setting. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places in New England (and hence the country), and yet we see almost nothing that couldn’t just as easily be the Hamptons or any beach town.
* The direction is as wooden as the acting. It’s as if he forgot that a caper needs some tension.
And did I mention that he screws up a Parker Posey performance?! Oy.