Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts
Starring: Brian Cox, Matthew Goode, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer
Director: Woody Allen
Oh dear. Woody Allen’s latest film has completely lost the plot. Literally. It’s a cliched, confused, dull waste of two hours.
When it’s slow and lame at the beginning, you expect it to get better. It doesn’t. And it manages to make its actors look pretty bad too.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris Wilton, an Irishman with no known background who emigrates to London and becomes a tennis coach to rich bloke Tom (Matthew Goode). Straight away, he’s absorbed into the bosom of Tom’s family (does Allen really think all Brits are this stupid and naive?) and swiftly gets engaged to his sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer). But as an already lucky man who still wants more, he can’t help lusting after his best friend’s gorgeous American fiancee, Nola (Scarlett Johansson). When Tom moves on to someone else, although Chris is now married to Chloe, he begins a disastrous affair with Nola. Despite desperately trying to get his wife pregnant, he gets Nola pregnant instead and, unable to cope with his dilemma, he resorts to drastic action.
I’m sure I missed the Dostoyevsky references but whichever way I tried to look at it, the plot was ludicrous and the genres seemed to switch intermittently between black comedy and serious drama and a few others inbetween. Allen seems to have got genre, tone and stereotypes completely out of balance. And James Nesbitt’s copper is just laughable.
Johnasson and Penelope Wilton (playing Tom and Chloe’s mother) are the only actors who come out with any credibility left, though why Johansson is wasting her time playing sub-standard roles like this is a good question, although it’s a testament to what a good actress she is.
Allen’s film all hinges on the concept of luck and how big a part it plays in your life. Luck certainly played its part in this film ever being made, no doubt with the help of a personal fortune. I’m also baffled by the obvious mysterious banishment of script editors involved with the project.
We are warned that this is the first of three London films for Woody – I hope the rest aren’t as lame as this otherwise someone should take away his visa.