"Whatever Works" Movie Trailer Review

12/01/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sam Roos

There’s a popular anecdote from the early days of "Seinfeld"--Jason Alexander essentially had been doing a Woody Allen impression for his character, George. One day, head writer and show creator Larry David stopped filming and showed Alexander what he wanted for a scene, and Alexander realized that George was based almost entirely on Larry. The rest is television history. This trailer for Allen's latest film, "Whatever Works," seems to signal that Larry David finally has come full circle--instead of trying to distinguish himself from Woody Allen, he’s playing the lead role of a neurotic older Jew in a Woody Allen film. 

So, basically, he’s playing Woody Allen.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Both men are comic geniuses, and the popularity of Larry David and his show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," might just be the thing to entice people to give Allen's film a chance after a decade of too many disappointments from the legendary writer/director. Something about Larry’s character on "Curb," as irritating and as obtuse as he can be, is endearing in a way that Woody Allen hasn’t been in years. So, on paper, it’s a match made in heaven.

But looking at the trailer, I feel the need to, well, curb my enthusiasm for this film. It’s not that Larry David doesn’t look like he can handle this venture into new territory--the role looks tailor made for him--and his acting here appears to be classic Larry. And certainly the script seems to offer the kind of story that Woody Allen does best.  But…that’s kind of the problem, too. We’ve been here before. New York Jew searching for meaning in modern life and finding it in a younger, slightly spacey outsider. They could have just called the film "Annie Hall VI," and at least we’d know that Woody Allen knows it’s the same movie he’s been making for the last 25 years. While it might turn out to be a good movie, watching the trailer, I couldn't help having flashbacks to "Annie Hall," "Manhattan," "Anything Else," "Hollywood Ending" and a half dozen other Woody Allen movies, not to mention a healthy dose of "Curb."

The trailer paints a picture of a broad farce with a heart, it looks to feature nice acting from David and some painful accents from Evan Rachel Wood and others. Will it be cleverly written? Yes. Does this look like a successful film debut for Larry David? Definitely. There’s no question this film has the talent onboard to be good, and especially funny. But we’ve been here before, and given that David and Allen have both been pioneers of comedy for decades, I was hoping for something I hadn’t seen before. Still, for any fan of these two, the film promises to be fun and funny--if not groundbreaking.

View the trailer for "Whatever Works" below. Thoughts?

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