As each year arrives on the screens of the famous ” new film of Woody Allen “. And like every year, it remains more or less skeptical about what the final result will be, as the director shows himself capable of the best as the worst in a while (or if you think about it, on the scope of his career). It’s simple, over the last decade, the “good films” of Woody Allen, those who exceed the nice entertainment, can be counted on the fingers of one hand : Match Point (obviously), The Dream of Cassandra (interesting in spite of its commercial failure in the United States), Blue Jasmine and The Man Irrational. The latter having been made last year, relying on the statistics, therefore, we say that we should not expect much of this new Woody Allen.
It is, therefore, without thinking too much about it that it starts in CAFÉ SOCIETY, which comes out in the hall and was presented at the same time in Cannes, on the opening day of the festival, out of competition. And yet, by discovering Steve Carrell (very good) in a suit sipping a cocktail near a swimming pool in the Hollywood of the 1930s, boasting just as it should be, to have the opportunity to sign on to Ginger Rodgers, something happens. The atmosphere, the pace, the dialogue on the phone between the famous agent of the stars that he sings (Phil), and his sister who, in true jewish mother tries to send him his son, Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), who arrives from New York, to help him to settle in the city. Something delicious happens as before our eyes in the first few minutes. But past the first layer, the excitement goes down and leaves a taste of too little.
We find no surprise in COFFEE SOCIETY the humour ofAllen, his taste for the mockery of his jewish culture, and of course his playing style that he passes on to his actor Jesse Eisenberg ; talkative, at a rapid pace, as naïve as selfish, juggling between sympathy and antipathy. Nothing new in itself. As the plot unravels : Bobby falls in love with Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), the secretary of his uncle, also the mistress hidden. A sort of love triangle develops, while Phil, refusing to leave his wife, and cut the bridges with Vonnie, before coming back to it, and discovered the pot aux roses using situations burlesque – Bobby unaware of the identity of the mistress of his uncle tells him of his love for his secretary. It would not take much more to dive on the side of the comédie de boulevard, simplicity and entertainment.
In this CAFE SOCIETY is not unpleasant, and is even charming on some points. Nevertheless, one cannot but admit that the film remains without much interest. Like even the latest achievement of the brother Coen, Hail Caesar !, tribute to the Hollywood of the 1950s. Because behind her pretty glitter (place of plot, costumes, photography), the film is pretty empty. Voluntarily, in the image of the stars that Vonnie described as superficial and boring ? It is in doubt. It is, rather, a lack of ambition overall, the image of the direction he gives to Kristen Stewart. The latter, in spite of all the affection one can have for it, and of the correctness of his game, appeared ill at ease in her cute outfits in the style of the time and unable to stand properly, look natural and not lost in his costume. And this is not the origins of his character (young girl from Nebraska) that warrant this feeling.
“Woody Allen is fun (and it is so much better), but it is not going away”
Woody Allen only then to follow its characters – these last are more or less similar to others in his previous works – in a moment of their life. The Woody Allen all over. But with a scenario reduces to a few things the developer ends up running in circles and has no other choice than to fill in developing sneak the rest of the family of Bobby. Between sketches and comic of repetition there will be the acts of its ugly brother, where the lint pifs and the body buried in the cement, come from precisely two scenes from the life of Bobby. It’s the same with the letters that he wrote to his older sister, making the link with the rest of the family, or with the engueulades of the regular his parents, who provide the funniest moments of the film. As this sentence pronounced by his mother : “It is a pity that judaism does not believe in a life after death, there would be more client otherwise “.
Allen is fun (and it is so much better), but it is not going away. Unable to find a new impetus at the time of its second part, when Bobby decides to return to New York to invest in a night-club. Certainly, for a time, Woody Allen does annoys not, avoiding to push us into amorality heavy characters cowardly and selfish. One could even say that its end is successful, and intelligent. But even if it is not grinding his teeth, we could very well refrain from spending an hour and a half in this COFFEE SOCIETY.
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