You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Piecemeal to a fault, Woody Allen's latest confection is a drop in the bucket compared to the auteur's inspired early films, such as "Manhattan." Allen's multi-character study of bemused infidelity takes a roulette-wheel format that blinks on vaguely unlikable London-dwellers played by the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, and Gemma Jones. Sally (Watts) and Roy (Brolin) are a disgruntled married couple. Roy is a failed author trying to get his latest book published when he isn't flirting with his neighbor Dia (Frieda Pinto) whose bedroom window faces his own. Talk about wanting to get caught. Sally takes on an art gallery job working for one charming Antonio Banderas, whose own marital troubles are equally dismal although not so exposed in Allen's script. Sally's fortune-teller-obsessed mom Helena (Gemma Jones) has recently split with her longtime husband Alfie (Hopkins). Wealthy Alfie is content to go broke buying lavish gifts for a hot little prostitute named Charmaine (Lucy Punch) who Alfie plans to marry. Plot treads dangle like so many strands of undercooked spaghetti as the filmmaker takes rote pot shots at humor with predictably fickle results. It's impossible to have much empathy with any of these contrived characters who, however well played by such an experienced cast, remain one-dimensional.
Rated R. 98 mins. (C-) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)
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