Imagine Larry David’s typical comedy, with him using bigger words like existential, idiosyncratic and ostentatious.
That’s how Woody Allen’s old-new (I’ll explain later) film Whatever Works plays out. Boris (David) is a cynical, near-genius who would have won a Nobel Prize in physics, but didn’t because it “was all about politics.” He revels in the fact that he is the intellectual superior to 95% of everyone out there as he questions existence.
That’s until he meets Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood). A runaway southern belle befriends Boris, and the pair engage in an awkward spring-winter relationship.
The laughs come from David’s standard portrayal of the cranky old Jewish man. He delivers a number of one-liners that made me laugh out loud, but I think I was the only one laughing in my theater.
This seems to be Allen’s typical male fantasy involving a younger woman. It adds in the fantasy of converting seemingly rigid southerners into cultured and sophisticated New Yorkers.
The screenplay was written during the 1970’s, but Allen put it aside. He retrieved it during the last potential writers strike. Its not necessarily his best, but any fan of Allen should get a few kicks.