Predictable, but Very Good

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Whatever Works - Movie PosterWHATEVER WORKS is the latest Woody Allen film, and it is pure Woody Allen, even though he doesn’t appear in it, himself.

Woody wrote and directed the film, but the part that he usually plays is taken by Larry David, and he does an admirable job of speaking the lines that you can recognize as being pure Woody Allen.

In fact, Woody wrote this back in 1977 for Zero Mostel, but when that renowned actor died that year, the screenplay was put on the shelf.
Woody has
updated it to the present day, of course, but you can also tell that some of the material that would have been daring over 30 years ago is now rather commonplace.

David plays Boris Yellnikoff, a grumpy curmudgeon if ever there was one, and the film begins in New York City with Boris and three of his buddies talking at a sidewalk coffee shop.

Actually, Boris is doing all the talking and then he breaks the “fourth wall” of the movie screen and starts talking directly to us, the audience. He says, “This is not the feel-good movie of the year. So if you’re one of those idiots who needs to feel good, go get yourself a foot massage.”

Boris walks with a limp, and a flashback to his life with his former wife, Jessica, shows the event that caused it. Boris says that on paper, they were ideal, but life isn’t on paper.

That night when Boris is about to enter his building, he is solicited by a young runaway woman who begs him for something to eat. She is from Mississippi, her name is Melody St. Ann Celestine, and she is played by Evan Rachel Wood.

Boris feels what little bit of pity or sympathy he is capable of, and he invites Melody up to his apartment, but says that she can stay for only two minutes and that’s it.

Well, for all his bluster, Boris relents and lets Melody stay for a couple of nights, which turns into much longer. And then their relationship changes, too, although Boris tells his buddies that he just wants her out.

The film takes a left turn when Melody’s mother shows up looking for her and then a right turn when her father does, too.

WHATEVER WORKS is predictable, but very good.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”