Valerie’s latest arrival from Netflix gave me mixed feelings; on the one hand I was looking forward to wading in a bit more to Allen’s catalog, but I wasn’t particularly excited about this flick going in. I don’t think that later sentiment interfered with my viewing experience. I think, rather, that a number of elements of the film got in the way…
It was no help that the film started off giving me more than a few bad first impressions. Intrusive and awkwardly-voiced narration. Characters who are more concept than real. An image of Barcelona that I might see in a tourist guide. Add to all that a script that felt like it was written by an advertising copywriter and acting like a community theater audition, and you have a recipe for a mostly wasted movie.
Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz both acted quite well and saved it a bit, but I was repeatedly dragged back to negativity by cheesy scene transitions (an awkwardly jarring dissolve…oi) and Scarlett Johanssen’s bland rendering of the screenplay.
Maybe I just need to bump Annie Hall to the top of my list to see what the real fuss over Woody Allen is about.