Viewed – 24 March 2012 DVD
It’s been a long time since I have sat down to watch a movie by directing legend Woody Allen. I’m not sure why but my love of his brand of whimsical, angst-ridden relationship comedies, has waned over the years, and have found myself less and less interested in his output, which continues to be one of the most prolific outputs of any director currently working. Yet post-Oscar season, this latest effort sparked my interest.
Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter who takes a holiday in Paris to work on his novel with fiance Rachel McAdams and her upper-class friends. Yet he finds their company disenchanting, and although adoring Paris and its inspirational mystique, finds himself taking solitary midnight walks to gather his thoughts. That’s when he is transported back into the 1920’s and starts mingling with the famous names of the era, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Pacasso and Salvador Dali etc. This is a great concept and a perfect fit for Woody Allen’s often over-used nervy navel gazing lead characters and relationship woes. The Paris locales are shot beautifully, clearly offering a love letter to the city like he did with New York in his classic Manhattan, and the writing is as sharp as he’s ever been. Owen as expected is playing the ‘Woody Allen’ role but it works wonderfully for one of the most likable Hollywood stars around, and the various actors playing the famous faces, deliver perfectly fascinating caricatures. McAdams is gorgeous, but doesn’t offer up anything various pretty actresses couldn’t have done just as well. Inception’s Marion Cotillard instead delivers a far more enjoyable performance, exuding French sexiness and mystery. Also for an Allen movie the comedy is played a touch too gentle and charming for my taste.
As a long time fan however, I feel so glad to be back in the director’s company, and although I’m sure he could have delivered just as good a movie if he had starred himself, his casting and choice of location won me over, leaving me with a really nice feeling as the credits rolled.
Verdict: 4 /5