Saturday, August 01, 2009

"Whatever Works" (2009) - Movie Review

Larry David seem to have been made for the role of Boris Yellnikof or may be the names are changed with David being himself. I presume this not because I have watched him in “Curb your Enthusiasm” but in the interviews of “Seinfeld” DVDs and more so the sitcom itself provides a perspective of the co-creator of Jerry Seinfeld. In those interviews David went on how incoherent and nervous wreck he became as the network executives were asking to make few more episodes and eventually few more seasons. Boris in “Whatever Works” is not so much variant from that. He is a suicidal and having failed once does not interest another attempt because of his laziness. He conducts his New York life with a routine he knows well and has mastered well. He talks to the audience and spites the living beings of fullest round circle of perfectly shaped morons. We are going to laugh at his views, but what is more important is that we feel for him at some point in the film. Now that is Woody Allen on the works. Having seen only one film before this (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), this second film for me is fresh, comic and satirical on the livings of New York and the religious Southerners.

Boris argues with his friends by the restaurant on religion, sex and the unfruitful life of ultimate death. The end is there, why bother to wait. He despises people and the mundane activities they involve each other and invite too with bright wide smile and hypocrisy in their armpits. He hates waking up. Yet he continues the living. His chain is broken when a runaway teenage girl from Mississippi, Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood) lands on his door for some food. She is floating on the clouds with an accent totally out of place for the city and the naivety which the city would eat her alive for. Boris oddly lets her in mainly to not deal with the icky factor of the sympathy and guilt. He spews his philosophy of the nonexistent existence and in the feather light attitude of Melodie melts away as genius out of work.

Days go on as months and the eventuality of a hateful man with a lovable innocent girl ends in a relationship. The tale follows then with the other eventualities and the addition of Melodie’s mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson) becomes into this cliches becoming another cliches by the culture shock and the revelation of the inner self buried behind closed doors and lonely nights. Woody Allen writes and uses the oddity in the dialogue delivery of Larry David.

Larry David’s Boris while is a misanthrope also gains a respect of his true perceptions of the society. Thus when he says that he thought the relationship with the subnormal person is inevitable to end, we do not see condescend but a truth of comedic yet sad tone. He limps, the limp he got out of the failed suicide attempt. He is mostly in his boxer and robe. His pedestal of righteousness is not out of attitude but out of the choice. He used to be a professor and now teaches kids to play chess which he does in the most horrible abusive fashion. Boris is a fun to watch person, may be hangout if you can stand the put down and accept his nature.

“Whatever Works” is a simpleton film in all honesty. It occasionally lets David’s Boris go on these verses of liberal agenda and pontificating scientific facts to a mastered arrogance yet that is not the point of the film. It is a movie on the people becoming the product of the society and the people they are surrounded with. Take Marietta who comes as the small town southerner highly religious and annoyingly shallow and materialistic stereotype. When she gets the outlet to be the modern woman, she lets out into this other side of the spectrum to become into a wax mold of the city’s most women. The fact though is in both the cases she enjoyed in a different manner.

Woody Allen is fast on scripts and uses that to the advantage of not letting much depth into the characters but good enough to stand up. His category is comedy but an added layer of a strange soul search. He introduces to these people who are confused as every other person and then winds up into a funny representation into another dimension of themselves. “Whatever Works” is an oddly intriguing comedy film which always finds it place right and proper.

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