Movie Reviews

Film Review: “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”

(Sony Pictures Classics.  Rated R for some language.  1 hour, 38 minutes.  Directed by Woody Allen.)  Anthony Hopkins (Alfie), Josh Brolin (Roy), Naomi Watts (Sally), Freida Pinto (Dia), Antonio Banderas (Greg), Lucy Punch (Charmaine), Gemma Jones (Helena), Pauline Collins (Cristal).

Pleasant-yet-forgettable time filler.  The Woodman’s been mixing it up a little recently, even giving us a thriller (the pretty good Cassandra’s Dream).  But he feels the need to make a movie every year, defaulting too often to fluffy ensemble comedies.  (And let’s be honest:  Vicky Cristina Barcelona was fairly dead until Penelope Cruz showed up.)  To his credit, though, Woody got together with Larry David last year for Whatever Works, wherein David injected a much-needed dose of hilarious cynicism into the usual proceedings.

So it’s a bit difficult to go back to the fluff, but that’s what happens here with Tall Dark Stranger.  Alfie (Hopkins) goes through a late-midlife crisis:  he’s on a health kick, leaves Helena (Jones), his wife of 40 years, and takes up with a much-younger ex-hooker, Charmaine (Punch).  Meanwhile, bewildered daughter Sally (Watts) and her husband Roy (Brolin) have problems of their own.  Sally has eyes for her boss, Greg (the lovely Banderas), while Roy becomes infatuated with Dia (the gorgeous Pinto), the woman across the courtyard.  The movie has its amusing moments, mostly supplied by British actress Punch, but if Larry David were around, he’d be telling this bunch how ridiculous they were all being.  And he’d be right.

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