23 February 2012
I've been catching up on Woody Allen's latest movies recently via iTunes - on the premise that a trip to the cinema was too expensive and time-consuming to be worth the risk. I'm not sure which is worse - Midnight in Paris or Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Both are pathetically self-indulgent, full of cliches, and predictably referential to an astonishing degree
Midnight in Paris opens with a series of amazingly unimaginative shots of Paris that come straight from tourist postcards. The conceit of the main character stepping out of one time zone to mix with Hemingway, Scott-Fitzgerald, Picasso, et al in the 1920s is milked ad nauseam and to no real end.
We learn nothing from this magical slippage, and neither does the protagonist as he exits the film with a new conquest and his prospective in-laws left abandoned in another fictional realm
Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an old man's wet dream. Having wisely decided not to feature himself as the male lead in his fictions, Allen substitutes Javier Bardem - who just happens to seduce not one American female tourist, but her friend as well. And he happens to be married. But no matter: when the wife turns up she accomodatingly accepts the arrangements, and so he then enjoys a menage a trois. This is sheer authorial wish-fulfilment of the most juvenile kind
It's all a long way from the serious achievements of Interiors, Another Woman, September, and Crimes and Misdemeanours.