WHATEVER WORKS Blu-ray Review
There are two things it’s hard to get away from when discussing Woody Allen: the first is that his output is so constant, there’s going to be winners mixed with losers. Over the last couple years, Allen’s talent has been scattershot to say the least, but then he might surprise you with a film like Match Point, or Vicki Christina Barcelona. Even his early funny period had some misfires, but that leads into the second point, which is that Allen has not been strong for a long time. You can never count him out, but the 21st century is easily his weakest period of cinema. Whatever Works, however, was written a very long time ago, and it shows, so it combines early funny with later Woody. My review after the jump.
There’s not much here, and the Red-State/Blue-state sensibilities are a bit on the nose. That these hermetically sealed Southerners ripped from a bad off-Broadway Tennessee Williams riff are stereotypical to a fault, and when they are taken in by the Big Apple it’s in ways that are schematic to a fault. In Allen’s world in this film, everyone benefits from being a New Yorker.
It’s a short film (92 min.), it’s put together with the casual style of a master, and most of the laugh lines are solid. If I’m not over the moon, this is middle drawer Woody at best, but it’s also likeable, and that gets it over. Minor, for sure, but not without pleasures.
Sony Pictures Classics presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in 5.1 DTS HD surround. Allen’s films are normally in 2.0 mono, and though the transfer is DTS 5.1, you would never know – everything comes from the front. Extras are limited to a trailer, but the transfer is – as to be expected – excellent.