'Whatever' is Right: New Allen Movie Disappoints

This article was originally published online on Jul. 8

The signature opening credit style is there, with the same white font on the same black screen, the same ragtime music playing over the names Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe. One can make out the comfortable old tropes, and one sometimes thinks one recognizes signs of life. But one is wrong. Whatever Works, the new Woody Allen movie starring Larry David, is the bleating deathpang of a towering auteur style gone stale, and a powerful argument that, if your choice for a leading role says he can’t act, you should believe him.

Un-Curbed Enthusiasm: Larry David is My Idol

As graduation edges ever nearer and the menace of the Real World approaches, it’s natural for us college types to imagine what we might be like as fully-formed adults with colon polyps and 401(k)s. Some might see a dapper executive in thousand-dollar suits and shiny loafers; others might envisage a laid-back hippie-type with granola and Birkenstocks. My own aspirations lie in a somewhat less conventional direction: when I think of what I’d like to be in 40 years, I think of Larry David.