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Whatever Works (2009)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 160
Fresh: 79
Rotten: 81

Critics Consensus: Based upon a script written in the 1970s, Woody Allen's Whatever Works suffers from a lack of fresh ideas.

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 14
Rotten: 30

Critics Consensus: Based upon a script written in the 1970s, Woody Allen's Whatever Works suffers from a lack of fresh ideas.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 39,284

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Movie Info

An eccentric New Yorker abandons his upper class life to lead a more bohemian existence. He meets a young girl from the south and her family and no two people seem to get along in the entanglements that follow.

Rating:
PG-13 (for sexual situations including dialogue, brief nude images and thematic material)
Genre:
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Woody Allen
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Oct 27, 2009
Box Office:
$5.2M
Runtime:
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


Cast


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Critic Reviews for Whatever Works

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (79) | Rotten (81) | DVD (7)

For all its wobbles, Whatever Works is rooted in an agreeable sensibility: life favours fate over luck more than we'd like to think, so grab whatever chances of happiness come your way.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

All rather mellow and predictable.

Full Review… | October 15, 2009
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic

After the fiercely enjoyable Vicky Christina Barcelona, this return to New York City is a letdown, though not without a few charms.

Full Review… | July 3, 2009
Denver Post
Top Critic

The result is a witty, well-played work without an adequate center. If you can get past that, Whatever Works does.

Full Review… | July 3, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

Whatever Works isn't topnotch Woody Allen, but it's still immensely funny.

Full Review… | July 3, 2009
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Whatever Works isn't deep, but with Grandpa Woody, you accept the warmed over, the recycled, just relieved he hasn't made a spectacle of himself.

Full Review… | July 3, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

There's just no real soul to Boris, no hint of the mania behind his crazed, neurotic worldview, no inherent and implied backstory that a skilled actor can provide. David is game and does his best, but let's call this what it is: Stunt casting.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013
Deadspin

This gleefully ironic comic fable feels different in tone from the likes of Vicky Christina Barcelona and Match Point. Woody has dusted off an old screenplay from the early 1970s that he'd originally written for Zero Mostel, shelved when the star died.

Full Review… | July 30, 2012
Movie Talk

Whatever works está llena de momentos geniales y divertidos, pero también de cierta humanidad en sus personajes que suele ser disfrazada de sarcasmo. Un verdadero show de Larry David, gentileza de Woody Allen.

Full Review… | April 16, 2011
Uruguay Total

Woody Allen's comedy doesn't work- on any level.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
sbs.com.au

People cynically walk into so much expecting disappointment - auditoriums showing Woody Allen's annual crapshoot, for example. Sometimes, they get expected middling results. Sometimes, as with Allen's 30-year-old script, they get unanticipated surprises.

Full Review… | December 2, 2010
Suite101.com

The heart of the film belongs to Wood, Clarkson and Begley Jr., and they provide the biggest laughs. Watching their Southern-charm slowly transformed (corrupted?) by the emotional/artistic/erotic flavours of New York City is a typical Allen-esque treat.

Full Review… | October 27, 2010
Quickflix

Even when delivering something of a regression, as this film is, (Allen) still packs more laughs and ideas into a film than most filmmakers do into a career.

July 4, 2010
Screenwize

Even diehard fans might find it a bit of a chore.

Full Review… | June 28, 2010
Daily Express

It won't win Allen new converts, but for those of faith, it offers consolation.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010
Guardian

Whatever Works is a welcome return to Allen's New York roots and enjoyable insofar as it is far wittier than most modern comedies, but it lacks anything fresh to say.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010
Daily Mail [UK]

David might be plugging a gap between Curb series, but Allen can do better.

June 25, 2010
Little White Lies

Whatever Works works.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010
Liverpool Echo

What's Woody Allen's worst film? Look no further.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Daily Telegraph

Tragically making Vicky Cristina Barcelona look like a happy accident, Whatever Works is retro Allen that smacks of desperation.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Empire Magazine

It's not classic Woody Allen, despite him writing it 40 years ago, but you'll be fairly entertained.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Birmingham Post

The rhythm of comedy dialogue has changed, yet Allen executes his script in a manner that leaves the cast swimming in a piece that feels curiously dated, like it's a lost picture from yesteryear.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Digital Spy

Allen showed us better than anyone what the good times really look like. We can't quite give up on that. We never will.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Financial Times

Great news! Woody Allen has extended his run of decent films! To two!

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
News of the World

There's an abundance of incisive one-liners and embittered tirades, with David bringing a new caustic flavour to Allen's nebbish alter ego, and if the action is occasionally contrived and stagy, it's mostly amusing and assured.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for Whatever Works

Hardly Woody at his best. Larry David is annoying almost beyond endurance.

More
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

This film teaters on the fine line between interesting and strange. I may have a different outlook on this movie than other because I am a huge fan of Larry David, but overall the movie was just okay. It is a decent watch if you are in a cynical mood, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it. It has a few moments of intrigue and humor, but it is hardly worth anyone's time.

More
Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

I feel like fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm would see nothing in this film that they haven't before, but thankfully, I'm not one of them, so the misanthropy of Larry David (as channeled through the character he plays) was a bit of a revelation to me. But more importantly, I found myself unable to take my eyes off Evan Rachel Wood's character throughout - she's just so sweet, and she's a perfect foil for the curmudgeon that reluctantly lets her live in his apartment with her. A simple story that's really about learning how the other side lives, and about opening your mind and trying new things, it's not quite as lovably madcap as Allen's best but it's still rather enjoyable... if you can get through the opening tirade from David. Using an actor to externalize the worst aspects of the cranky old man Allen (may fear he) is turning into was a smart choice, and it allows for a particular wink and nod in the last scene that I won't reveal, one, because I don't want to spoil it, and, two, because I waited too long between watching this and writing up the review, so I don't remember it exactly, only that I really liked it, which I suppose means I'll have to watch the film again. There are worse movies to have to sit through twice... many of them. It can't be Manhattan every time out, but Allen's still got it. See this film. See all his films.

More
danperry17
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

½

An old New York (Jewish) cynic marries a Southern Baptist blonde ... hilarity ensues. Or that's the general presumption. But Allen threw this goof light together in an hour, if that, and could hardly care what you think about it and says so, right to the camera, in the first five minutes. Goof light.

More
ApeneckFletcher
Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

Whatever Works Quotes


Boris Yellnikoff:
See, I'm the only one who sees the whole picture. That's what they mean by genius.
– Submitted by Lyberis D (22 months ago)
Boris Yellnikoff:
On paper we're ideal, but life isn't on paper.
– Submitted by Nastassia J (22 months ago)
Howard:
Oh Lord, forgive me for I have committed the sin of self indulgence
Boris Yellnikoff:
Why do all the religious fanatics end up praying on my door step?
– Submitted by Beverly S (2 years ago)
Boris Yellnikoff:
[clutching his heart, complaining as usual from a night sweat panic induced attack, he gripes to Melody as she is trying to find a soothing TV channel] I have SEEN THE ABYSS!
Melody:
Well, that's alright, darlin, we can watch somethin' else!
– Submitted by Beverly S (2 years ago)
Melody:
What are you genius at?
Boris Yellnikoff:
Quantum mechanics.
Melody:
Yeah, but what field? Like, music?
– Submitted by Carol M (2 years ago)
Melody:
What are you genius at?
Boris Yellnikoff:
Quantum mechanics.
Melody:
Yeah, but what field? Like, music?
– Submitted by Carol M (2 years ago)

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