I remember after watching 'Match Point' that I swore to myself I would never see another new Woody Allen film again. That film was so utterly painfully terrible, not to mention completely morally bankrupt, that I knew right then that he had completely lost it. It was upsetting for me because Woody Allen is one of my favourite directors ever, and a few of his films are among my all time favourites. But he hasn't made a really good film since 'Everyone Says I Love You' in 1996, which for someone who a) makes a film every year, and b) has such a hit rate as he does, is incredibly disappointing. There've been some quite good films in that time, but nothing to get excited about; 'Deconstructing Harry' was quite good but just a bit too massively self-indulgent (an odd criticism to level at DH without levelling it at say, virtually every other film he's ever done, but DH was just a little too obvious with it), 'Small Time Crooks' was fun but totally lacking in substance and 'Sweet & Lowdown' was good, but something just didn't quite sit right with it. Like it was Woody Allen watered down or something.
'Match Point' was the breaking point for me tho, and so the vow was made. It lasted 3 years. That makes 2 Woody Allen films I didn't see; the utterly abysmal looking 'Cassandra's Dream' and 'Scoop' the year before that. 'Scoop' was pretty easy to avoid considering it was never released in the UK. It played at one film festival, and then just disappeared. To me it seems like quite an odd decision to not release a film in the UK that was made by Woody Allen and starred Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman and Ian Mcshane. Especially the year after 'Match Point' which did pretty well.
Then comes 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'. A film that once again has critics telling us that ol' Woody's had a return of form. Yeah, like I haven't fallen for that one before. I saw the trailer a few times and thought it looked dreadful. So why did I go and watch this film?
Because a) friends of mine wanted to see it, so I went with them, but also b) I want Woody Allen to prove me wrong. I want really want him to make an amazing film again. One that excites me, one that moves and inspires me. I love Woody Allen and it pains me that he has become the film-making equivalent of The Rolling Stones, going thru the motions to portray a shadow of his former self.
I really wanted to be proved wrong, but about a minute into 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' it became brutally apparent that this was not going to happen.
What's right with the film: It looks very nice. The leads are hot. Especially Rebecca Hall who I now want to do all kinds of naughty things to.
What's wrong with the film: The world's most annoying voiceover (In one shot, we see that Vicky and Cristina are having dinner and are told by the voiceover that they are having dinner. This is amazingly one of the least annoying voiceover moments. The reason Woody Allen has chosen to do a voiceover, is clearly to avoid having to include clunky and pointlessly descriptive dialogue, but all it actually does is make you feel like yer watching the worlds most anally descriptive directors commentary.), dialogue that sounds like it was written by sixth formers (One review that my mate James read said that the dialogue sounds like it was taken from an episode of 'Dawson's Creek'. I can't think of a better way to put it than that. It includes lines and words that no-one would ever say in natural conversation. Some of the dialogue in this film is truly laugh out loud terrible.), a total lack of any likeable characters, and a stupid stupid storyline that just gets more and more stupid as it goes along - including an incident at the end that is so "Where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from?!?" that you want to eat your cinema ticket so you at least actually get something for your money and don't feel like you've been totally conned.
This is a terrible film. The only way to enjoy it would be to have it playing on mute while listening to some decent music (as opposed to that one song that plays over and over again in this film, which is kinda cool when you first hear it, but by the end of the film it is irritating as fuck). It may not be quite as bad as 'Match Point' was, but it is still just truly awful.
I made my vow again to never watch another new Woody Allen film, and you know what? His next film 'Whatever Works', stars Larry David. I fucking love Larry David, which means that I will break my vow and put myself thru this punishment all over again.