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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Movie Review - Café Society

Café Society (2016)
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll, Jeannie Berlin, and Anna Camp
Directed by Woody Allen
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

Café Society is a nonstarter when it comes to a Woody Allen movie.  There's nothing about it that really pops, but there's nothing about it that's bad enough to rouse hatred.  In the end, it's just a middle-of-the-road flick from a prolific auteur who has maybe run out of ideas when it comes to comedy despite still having some life in him when it comes to writing and directing dramas.

It's the 1930s and Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) isn't happy working for his jeweler father in New York City so he decides to move to Los Angeles where he gets a job running errands for his uncle Phil (Steve Carell) who is one of the biggest agents in Hollywood.  At his uncle's office, Bobby meets secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) and immediately becomes infatuated with her.  Unfortunately for Bobby, Vonnie happens to be secretly seeing her married boss, Phil, but she's aggravated that he won't leave his wife despite promises that he will.  With Phil leaving her in limbo, Vonnie acquiesces to Bobby's advances, but their relationship eventually causes some tension between Bobby and Phil, leaving the young man to head back home to New York City where a whole second half of the story begins involving a ritzy supper club.

And therein lies the biggest problem with Café Society -- it's two disparate stories that don't really mesh together as well as they should.  The film really is broken into two halves and while neither half is disproportionately worse than the other, it just doesn't really click as a whole.  Fortunately, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart have nice chemistry (in what I believe is their third film together) which helps Woody Allen's words come to life.  Anna Camp, Parker Posey, and Blake Lively take on cameo-sized roles and inject a lot of character into them as well.  In the end, though, Woody Allen may have been better served if he just chose one half on which to focus.  Still, Café Society isn't the worst of Allen films, but it's certainly not the best.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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