I don’t like Woody Allen. I never have. I just don’t. I can’t give you a real answer. Why don’t some people like rock music? How come some people hate eating meat? What about that weird anti-bread allergy? He’s never floated my boat, and he’s a dude. So I never was really all that interested anyway. But my roommate’s, who think I’m a good guy for some reason, brought me along to see Woody Allen’s latest movie, Vicky Christina Barcelona. Surprise, it wasn’t that bad. Probably because Woody Allen wasn’t fucking in it.
The movie is about two American women on the opposite sides of the iron board. Vicky, played by awesome Rebecca Hall, is getting married to the typical rich, Wall Street, golf playing douche sack. Christina, played by Scarlett Johansson’s lips, is the hot artsy typed who can’t stand commitment. They know people in Europe they can stay with for the summer, and decide to kick it in Barcelona. Insert dark skinned Latin painter type Juan, played by Javier Bardem, and you can pretty much make up the rest, almost. It is the way the story is told that makes the difference.
While Christina’s attraction is predictable, Vicky actually has real feelings. So does Juan. Even when Vicky’s man comes into play, and Juan and Christina become more serious, Juan and Vicky still have an interest. Then we get the gem, Penelope Cruz, and the movie changes from all right to actually not that bad.
The camera is interesting in this regard. Everyone knows that Woody Allen likes the way Scarlett Johansson looks. There is a scene where the camera has an intense close up for minutes and you can kind of tell that Woody has a…let’s skip that joke. But, when Penelope Cruz pops into the scene, the camera doesn’t want to give tribute to her. But it can’t help it. Penelope Cruz takes every scene she is in. She’s passionate, charming, smart and extremely sexy. And, unlike Johansson, who is trying to be everything the camera wants, Penelope is effortlessly breath taking. A line in the moving from Johansson: “I have to face the fact that I have no talent.” Shorty, we realized that bullshit years ago.
This movie surprised me. It was good without being overdone. It had an actual point it wanted to make, and it did it. It doesn’t have any silly ideas about chasing the dream or loving under any circumstance. Woody Allen says, if you get shot while hanging out with a guy, it might not be a good idea. These are always lessons hard learned.