Kurt Loder Reviews 'Whatever Works'

Whatever WorksFROM MTV.COM: "Whatever Works" isn't a good Woody Allen movie, even by latter-day standards. It is, however, a surprisingly offensive Woody Allen movie, inviting us, as it does, to sneer at benighted Southerners, idiot Christians, stupid kids and their hard-rock music — anything, in short, that wouldn't pass muster among the preening Big Apple sophisticates of whom the director is a longtime laureate.

Allen wrote the script more than 30 years ago, when he was making such incomparable films as "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan." Back then, his nebbish hostility had the fresh zing of underdog humor. Now he's wealthy and celebrated and 73 years old, and that youthful comic stance, transported into the present, just seems crabby and sour. And while casting Larry David as the film's lead character might sound like a masterstroke, it turns out to be an insurmountable problem. In his HBO series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," David is an inspired improviser (and, in half-hour doses, an entertaining small-screen presence). He's not really an actor, though, and so here, confined to Allen's scripted dialogue, he seems wooden — you wait for him to bust out and soar, but he can't. He's just an amplifier for the director's vintage misanthropy, and he grinds you down.

Continue reading 'Whatever Works': Grumposaurus Rex, By Kurt Loder