Whatever Works

Director: Woody Allen
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 2.5

Nobel Prize nominee and all-around outspoken guy (a typecast Larry David) meets up with a dumb bunny new to New York City (Evan Rachel Wood) who needs a place to stay; his sourness strikes her as wisdom, and he takes some small, small pleasure in 'educating' her. It's certainly not the most elaborate or even remotely fresh setup (older man, younger woman ... come on!) - this is one of the Allen pictures that runs on autopilot - but there is a great delight in hearing David spit out Woody's nasty, cerebral dialogue: the two have worked together before, but never with David as Allen's stand-in. The notion of everyone involved finding sexual fulfillment in Manhattan simply by allowing life to do what it does is - the city-as-stimulant - speaks against the claims that it's actually a difficult city to find true love in (so many singles! so much alienation!), but at this point, why gripe?