Whatever Works – A Review

I like Larry David and have long found Curb Your Enthusiasm quite funny if painfully acerbic; I used to like Woody Allen’s films and wait for the new mix of comedy and ideas. And there in lies the problem: this is neither Curb Your Enthusiasm nor one of Allen’s sharper comedies from the past. Instead, it is a soft flow of stereotypes that have their moments and are good for a some laughs, but it is really a flat movie that David isn’t quite capable of pulling off. While he is an acerbic misanthrope, there never seems to be any dynamics to the misanthropy and though that might be David’s natural state, it doesn’t make for the most interesting watching. If comedy is timing, it is also dynamics, the interplay between mania and normalcy. I also found the dimwitted Southerner a little tedious and an overblown stereotype only topped by the stereotype of the bible toting Southerner. While it may be a delicious send up of the religious right to have the bible toting Southerners either come out of the closet or begin a mange-a-tois when they get to the big city (yet another cliché), it just seemed to be a piling on of absurd scenes all to make his point: you have to do what ever works to find love. While this might be a little simplistic, it does have possibilities, it just too bad Allen had to string to together so many scenes that were neither funny, nor insightful. When the title explains the move, perhaps there isn’t much reason to go.