Whatever Works

( 8 )

Overview

Woody Allen writes and directs this "blackish comedy" about an eccentric upper-class New Yorker Larry David who abandons his comfortable lifestyle in favor of leading a more bohemian existence. After meeting a young Southern girl Evan Rachel Wood and her family, he discovers that life among the nonconformists isn't quite as carefree as he'd envisioned it to be.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
DVD (Wide Screen)
$13.71
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (9) from $4.99   
  • New (6) from $5.00   
  • Used (3) from $4.99   

Overview

Woody Allen writes and directs this "blackish comedy" about an eccentric upper-class New Yorker Larry David who abandons his comfortable lifestyle in favor of leading a more bohemian existence. After meeting a young Southern girl Evan Rachel Wood and her family, he discovers that life among the nonconformists isn't quite as carefree as he'd envisioned it to be.
Read More Show Less

Special Features

Closed Caption
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
After a string of films set outside not just the familiar confines of Manhattan, but outside of the U.S.A. altogether, Woody Allen returns to his home country and his hometown with a vengeance in Whatever Works, a comedy about how America would be a much better place if everyone lived in New York. This time Allen casts Larry David in the part he would have played himself -- Boris Yellnikoff, a retired physicist who never misses the chance to tell people he almost won a Nobel Prize. Nowadays, though, he's a highly educated blowhard, spouting off opinion after opinion about the decrepit state of humanity with his friends -- at least that's what he does when he isn't insulting the children whose parents have hired him to teach chess to their offspring. One day, Melody Evan Rachel Wood, a homeless Southern girl, approaches him outside his apartment begging for money. Against his better judgment, Boris lets her into his home and quickly learns that her parents recently split up. She discovers that Boris' misanthropy is all bark and no bite, and as they become friends, her naïveté busts through his innate cynicism. Soon she's staying at his place, paying rent after she secures a job as a dog walker, and she becomes a more cultured person from spending so much time with Boris. After she goes out on a bad date with a guy her age, the May-December couple realizes they're in love, and they get married. If that were the extent of the movie's plot, this would be just another in a long line of Woody's Pygmalion-inspired bittersweet romantic comedies, but it turns out their relationship is just the first act. The film takes a somewhat unexpected turn when each of Melody's parents shows up to try and rescue her from the city. Her mother, Marietta Patricia Clarkson, is simply aghast that Melody would marry someone who is not only decades older, but Jewish as well. After hanging out with the couple for a few days, though, Marietta goes on a date with one of Boris' friends, a respected art critic, who tells her she's a talented photographer. Soon Marietta has a thriving art career, and although she learns to love life in The Big Apple, she still never takes a liking to her son-in-law. Eventually Melody's father, John Ed Begley Jr., arrives at Boris' door looking for both his daughter and his wife, with whom he wants to reconcile, and his time in the city also changes him in unexpected ways. While it's easy to point out how often Allen returns to the theme of an older man being romantically involved with a much younger woman, this time out he avoids the inherent "ick factor" thanks to his actors. Larry David plays Boris with a pronounced lack of sexuality -- he more or less says he's not interested in sex anymore -- and because of that he never comes off as a dirty old man, just a cantankerous old fart, while Evan Rachel Wood is simply, irresistibly charming, so you can understand why a man of Boris' age would want to nurture her. For longtime Allen fans, it's a kick to have him filming in New York City again, to see his characters walk through the town while pontificating on every subject imaginable. But the downside is that what they say just isn't all that funny most of the time. Sure, there are laughs, especially in Evan Rachel Wood's dumb-girl delivery, but the film's Bush-era red state-vs.-blue state attitude suddenly feels out of synch with Obama in the White House. The biggest problem is that Boris' attitudes and opinions about life are never really challenged -- in fact they are validated by the movie's tidy ending. And, since it's difficult not to assume that Boris speaks for Allen, this gives Whatever Works a disappointing air of self-satisfaction -- bordering on smugness -- that would be easier to forgive if only the whole thing were much funnier. Sadly, Allen the writer/director has become a lot like his most recent creation -- all bark and no bite.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/27/2009
  • UPC: 043396315204
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 24,161

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Larry David Boris Yellnikoff
Evan Rachel Wood Melody
Ed Begley Jr. John
Patricia Clarkson Marietta
Conleth Hill Leo Brockman
Michael McKean Joe
Jessica Hecht Helena
Christopher Evan Welch Howard
Henry Cavill Randy James
Carolyn McCormick Jessica
John Gallagher Jr. Perry
Technical Credits
Woody Allen Director, Screenwriter
Letty Aronson Producer
Suzy Benzinger Costumes/Costume Designer
Brahim Chioua Executive Producer
Ali Farrell Casting
Alisa Lepselter Editor
Santo Loquasto Production Designer
Vincent Maraval Executive Producer
Helen Robin Co-producer
Laura Rosenthal Casting
Harris Savides Cinematographer
Juliet Taylor Casting
Stephen Tenenbaum Producer
Read More Show Less

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Whatever Works
1. Scene 1 [6:45]
2. Scene 2 [10:09]
3. Scene 3 [5:50]
4. Scene 4 [5:59]
5. Scene 5 [6:49]
6. Scene 6 [6:50]
7. Scene 7 [7:50]
8. Scene 8 [5:37]
9. Scene 9 [7:35]
10. Scene 10 [7:40]
11. Scene 11 [10:54]
12. Scene 12 [9:31]
Read More Show Less

Menu

Disc #1 -- Whatever Works
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Preview
         An Education
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Whatever Works

    Woody Allen is the mastermind director behind great films like Bullets Over Broadway, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and of course Annie Hall. He has made a name for himself writing quirky romantic comedies that go deeper than a romantic comedy deserves to delve, and creating neurotic characters (typically Jewish) that would probably be better off on a psychiatrist's couch than parading around for our entertainment. Larry David is one of the writers, producers, and creators of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and he stars in the latter. In Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry David plays himself as a neurotic yuppie who talks himself into painfully funny situation. When it comes to the pairing of Woody Allen and Larry David in Whatever Works the question you need to ask yourself isn't, "Is it any good," but rather, "Why didn't this happen sooner?!"
    Woody Allen, coming off of Vicky Christina Barcelona, finally creates a comedy more worthy of his older, and generally much funnier material. With Whatever Works he creates situations that are more realistic, with characters that are more real than he's created in a comedy in a while. His dialogue is just as sharp as it ever was, but at the same time, more so than in a lot of his past comedies, not everyone feels like they're talking "Woody," so to speak.
    The acting is phenomenal, as should be expected of an Allen movie. The difference in here and in any other movie he's directed that he hasn't starred in is that in Larry David he doesn't get an actor that is trying to be a clone of him as he does with Jason Biggs in Anything Else or Will Ferrell in Melinda and Melinda. Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe) also stands out as the polar opposite to David's neurotic curmudgeon Boris. And they play very well together, the actor and actress appear to actually have real chemistry in front of the camera which makes you believe that this young girl really wants to be with an old crotchety man like Boris.
    Naturally, though, there are things that detract from the movie. Some of the relationships don't completely seem to ring true (a relationship between Marietta and her two lovers later on in the movie may strike many viewers as odd), or some people just won't like where certain things fit (how many people complained about the pairing in King of Queens? they won't like Larry David with Evan Rachel Wood). There's also a late homosexual revelation that happens a little too quickly. On top of that a lot of viewers might disagree and find offense with the dialogue that sometimes spits out of Boris' mouth throughout the film.
    But isn't that one of the great things about entertainment? To make you question, and sometimes, fight for your beliefs? If you happen to like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, or any Woody Allen comedy I highly recommend this. For everyone else: whatever works!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Hillarious!

    Typically Allen, this commedy is funny and among the best of his repertoire. True, requires the taste for black comedy, but if you have enjoyed Allen's previous work you'll certainly like this :-)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews