PopEntertainment.com

It's all the entertainment you need!

 

FEATURE STORIES MOVIE REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS BOX SET REVIEWS TV SHOWS ON DVD CONTESTS CONCERT PHOTOS

 

  FEATURE STORIES
  INTERVIEWS A TO E
  INTERVIEWS F TO J
  INTERVIEWS K TO O
  INTERVIEWS P TO T
  INTERVIEWS U TO Z
  INTERVIEWS ACTORS
  INTERVIEWS ACTRESSES
  INTERVIEWS BOOKS
  INTERVIEWS DIRECTORS AND SCREENWRITERS
  INTERVIEWS MUSIC
  INTERVIEWS OSCAR NOMINEES
  INTERVIEWS THEATER
  IN MEMORIAM
  REVIEWS
  MOVIE REVIEWS
  MUSIC REVIEWS
  CONCERT REVIEWS
  BOX SET REPORT CARD
  TV SHOWS ON DVD
  MISCELLANEOUS STUFF & NONSENSE
  CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  CONTESTS
  LINKS
  MASTHEAD
  EMAIL US

"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

www.wbshop.com

PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Vicky Cristina Barcelona

MOVIE REVIEWS

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (2008)

Starring Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Penélope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, Chris Messina, Zak Orth, Pablo Schreiber, Carrie Preston and the voice of Christopher Evan Welch.

Screenplay by Woody Allen.

Directed by Woody Allen.

Distributed by The Weinstein Company.  97 minutes.  Rated R.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

You have to love Woody Allen.  No matter how old he gets; no matter how serious his subject is; no matter how properly his characters speak; no matter how much art, philosophy, religion and commerce they ponder; no matter how many beautiful settings they visit – when you get down to the crux of the story, Allen still can’t help but be a bit of a pervert.

Take Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  It has brilliant, neurotic characters.  They are staying in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  They are talented, well-educated, capable, artistic people living charmed lives, pondering the mysteries of love and compatibility.  They are well off.  They are philosophical.  They are just a bit neurotic and self-obsessed.  They can afford to stay in Europe for months on a whim. 

Still, when you get past all the window dressing, it is simply the story of a suave Spanish gent who is trying to seduce a pair of beautiful American tourists into having a threesome. 

Everything gets more tangled and intertwined than anyone really expects – as often happens when one tries to live out their most extreme fantasies – but the heart of the matter all comes down to wanting to get laid and the old dream of a man having two (eventually three) women who are passionately in love with him and fighting over him.

It is also Allen’s best film since Match Point a few years ago.  Perhaps some of the freshness comes from the fact that – like that film – Allen is moving out of his safety zone and exploring a place far different from the New York milieu which was for decades the only world he cared to chronicle.  In Match Point, Allen tried leaving behind the bustling New York Jewish intellectual world for the more settled and repressed British higher classes.  Sadly, the shot in the arm which travel gave him did not last into the other few films he followed up with in the UK; therefore he is moving again – now to fiery and passionate Spain.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson – who has become Allen’s muse of late, reappearing in his films like Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow had in years past) are best friends who have known each other since college.  The friendship has flourished despite the fact – perhaps because – they are so basically different. 

Vicky is smart and sensible, looking for a life of stability.  She has only seriously dated one man, the man she is about to marry – a reliable if slightly dull young exec.

Cristina is more passionate.  She throws herself into a series of probably doomed affairs in a possibly fruitless search for the one perfect love.

While traveling together in Europe, they are offered the opportunity to stay at the mansion of Vicky’s relatives (Patricia Clarkson and Kevin Dunn) in scenic Barcelona for a couple of months.

At an art show, they meet a charming Spanish painter named Juan Antonio.  Upon their first discussion, the painter rakishly offers to fly the two women for a weekend in another town – a glamorous trip which will comprise of art, first class hotels, fine dining, sightseeing and a little group sex.

Vicky is – quite rightly – suspicious of the offer, while Cristina is somewhat intrigued by the handsome, mysterious lothario.  Therefore Vicky agrees to go along on the trip to watch out for her impulsive friend.

While the planned threesome never occurs, at different points both friends become sexually involved and fall in love with the man – though each knows it may not be in their best interest.  Things become even more complicated when Juan Antonio’s fiery, passionate and suicidal ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) returns.  Juan Antonio has never lost his passion for his slightly crazed ex-wife; however they can’t seem to be together without a buffer for any extended period of time before their passion overflows into anger.  For a short period Cristina fills this buffer role, but a three-way love affair between them seems doomed from the start.

As a man, I’m always suspicious of films where too many woman are all fixated on one guy (rarely happens – wish it did!) as mere fantasy.  However, it is possible to see what all of them see in Bardem, with his shaggy European good looks, thoughtful intelligence and courtly manner. 

You know, though, that it is unhealthy for all involved – and despite a good amount of restrained passion and dramatic emotional upheaval, they all basically land in the same place they started out, with only their friendships and memories to keep them warm.

Which, I guess, is sort of the point.  Sometimes fantasies are best left behind. 

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: August 15, 2008.

RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS MENU

Copyright ©2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: August 15, 2008.

 

Enter Gotham City with Batman Costumes from Spirit Halloween! Protect or destroy the city as Batgirl, Robin, or the Joker. Shop now!