Sunday, February 2, 2014

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) [R] ***

This is the latest in a seemingly endless stream of farcical romantic comedies, written and directed by Woody Allen, about human foibles and frailties in the world of romance. The aging Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) has recently divorced his wife Helena (Gemma Jones). In his search for his lost youth Alfie has become obsessed with the much-younger Charmaine (Lucy Punch), a call girl who is ruining him financially while secretly cheating on him. Helena has been using Alfie's divorce settlement to support her daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) and Sally's husband Roy (Josh Brolin), a novelist who has begun flirting with an attractive young neighbor Dia (Freida Pinto) while he waits for his publisher's response to his latest manuscript. Meanwhile, Sally has developed a crush on Greg (Antonio Banderas), her boss at the art gallery where she works. And Helena is taking advice from Cristal (Pauline Collins) a spiritual advisor who's a total fraud, but who has convinced Helena that she, Helena, has lived previous lives and has a bright future in this one.

The story reminds us how blind and silly that people can be about love and romance. There aren't any pivotal scenes, any earthshaking insights or epiphanies, or any closure to the various plot lines. Allen has simply populated his present-day London set with seven characters, given them each a shove, and then chronicled their lives as they bounce off one another. In the process he rehashed material he has used many times over the last forty years. Sadly, these people are not fascinating characters with whom we might become entranced. Rather, they are boring, bland, pastel characters, and we really don't care what might happen to them. Serious fans of Woody Allen's art may be satisfied with this film, but most other viewers will be bored to tears, rather than entertained. 

Labels comedy, romance 
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 51/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=54, viewers=58)    

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