Directed by Woody Allen
Cornerhouse, 27 June 2010
If you like Woody Allen’s past recent efforts you will probably like this film.
It is full of the moderately amusing kvetching and the moderately angst-ridden musings that have become his current trademark.
Larry David plays Boris, a chess coach and former physics professor and all-round general purpose genius, or so he thinks. His chess lessons seem quite superficial. Does he provide his students with an explanation of the terms ‘prophylaxis’ and ‘zugzwang’? No, he does not. Maybe instead he can be found recommending a good line for White against the Sveshnikov Sicilian? Scratch that hope too. He has a good line in banal invective, mind, always an admirable quality in a teacher.
For way too long now, Allen’s films – and Whatever Works is as good an example as any – have taken on the appearance of a precious item of clothing that has been washed too many times. You recognise the garment still as something you once loved, but there’s no doubting it’s become faded and tired over time. This is a film that just about works. Barely, truth be told, or thread-barely if you prefer. Whatever.