REVIEW: Cafe Society

October 17, 2016

Review, Theatrical, This Week 1 Comment

"...predictable and intermittently maudlin..."

REVIEW: Cafe Society

Mark Demetrius
Year: 2016
Rating: M
Director: Woody Allen

Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey

Distributor: eOne
Released: October 20
Running Time: 97 minutes
Worth: $10.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…predictable and intermittently maudlin…

It could certainly be argued that Woody Allen has been let off too lightly for his alleged personal transgressions. When it comes to his latter-day creative endeavours, on the other hand, perhaps we should cut him some slack. The writer/director is, after all, in his eighties, and cannot reasonably be expected to turn out any more masterpieces.

In any event, he certainly hasn’t done so with Cafe Society. There is nothing disastrously wrong with it, but – apart from one interesting plot development – nor is there anything to be said in its favour. It’s just eminently forgettable and rather dull. Even the meticulous 1930s period detail, which should be a plus, is laid on so lavishly that it becomes a distraction.

The central character is Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), a young guy from the Bronx who heads to LA in the hope of working in Hollywood, preferably with the help of his uncle, big-shot agent, Phil Stern (Steve Carell). In next to no time, Bobby has fallen madly in love with Phil’s secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). What follows is predictable and intermittently maudlin, and when it’s supposed to be funny, it isn’t. Many of the standard Allen tropes are ticked off – jazz soundtrack, visual homage to Manhattan, Jewish family banter etc – but they don’t rise above formulaic level. And speaking of ticking things off, the ongoing roll-call of famous names – actors and directors of the era – is galling in a story that purports to criticise the shallow namedropping of Tinseltown. Cafe Society is watchable, but it’s no more than that.




    I agree with that one and add that there were many filmmaker mistakes throughout the film including a minimal repeat of the end of “Radio Days” which was not only not meaningful, but forced. Woody is done, I’m sorry to say. The jazz was nice; the narration by Woody was a shaky repeat of the catastrophe of “Crisis”. Woody is too gone to be cute and too late in the talent application. Gil’s rating is one blip of 5. Sad that so much movie making resource is wasted on this dumb film.

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