FILM: Woody has made a film I like, at last

Thursday, 8. October 2009

It’s called Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which is a title so bad it hurts; the plot is a tapas bar of clichés about romance; the “characters” are at best half a dimension and in most cases considerably less; the acting is school of Johansson, who dominates throughout, except for one brilliant protagonist who holds the entire thing together: the voiceover, which is simply stunning, on a par with the gentle irony of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.

This voiceover enables Woody to illuminate the easy lives of a bunch of stupid American clichés, to mould them this way and that around a bunch of stupid romantic and life clichés, to foil them with a bunch of stupid cliché Spanish stuff - and yet to extract a dry laugh from a jaded and hostile viewer (me) at every single turn.

I have never liked the guy, never liked his arrogance, never liked his antics, never liked his strange family relationships and never liked the adulation he used to get from dunderheads starved of anything more meaningful. But if he had learned to step back sooner, as he does here, if he had broadened his field of vision like he does here, my God, he could have been almost half a contender.

For American humour, this film is brilliant, almost European in its almost sophistication. A very enjoyable romp, though the sex could have been more explicit and the Cruz identity almost spoils it by overacting to put  Scarlett in her place when actually the third woman, the incidental, woman, the Spanish artist and the voiceover are the real stars, especially the voiceover.

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