Whatever Works (2009)



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

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
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


as Boris Yellnikoff

as Leo Brockman

as Randy James

as Helena
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News & Interviews for Whatever Works

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Critic Reviews for Whatever Works

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (43)

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

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

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

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

Audience Reviews for Whatever Works

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

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.

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.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Whatever Works Quotes

– Submitted by Lyberis D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Nastassia J (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Beverly S (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Beverly S (3 years ago)

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