Film Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger [dir. Woody Allen; 2010]

I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy several moments in Allen's latest film. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think some of the performances worked quite well some of the time. I'd be lying if I said the plot's quirky intricacies didn't make me reflect on the quirky intricacies of the plots of all our lives. But it's difficult to feel much enthusiasm for a movie where each promising scene is followed by one displaying toe-curling clumsiness. The story trundles along at a moderately entertaining pace: a struggling writer becomes obsessed with a woman living next door; an art gallery assistant starts developing feelings for her boss; an elderly woman tries to make sense of her world by visiting a medium... All the separate elements weave in and out of each other with varying degrees of success. But the whole thing feels rather stale. We've met these people before, especially the figure of the ditzy prostitute on whom Allen has relied too many times as a source of comedy... but then I'd be lying if I said I didn't laugh as Lucy Punch - the latest incarnation of Woody's Whore - gave the camera her vacant stare. So I suppose that essentially You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger just about manages to be all right. But only just. And "only just" is rapidly running the risk of turning into "not nearly good enough" as far as Allen is concerned.



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