Woody Allen on very self-indulgent form. But isn't he always, right? Well this time round my patience ran out. I'm reminded of something Terry Pratchett wrote about his Discworld satirical fantasy series – that in the first round of books he was just writing to the next joke, and then he discovered the joys of plot and character and theme. Coming out of this, I'm thinking that for Allen, the same progression has been a disaster. As his films have acquired greater structure and cohesiveness, the neurotics at the centre of them have become more flat, humourless and aggravating. I wanted to strangle Owen Wilson sooo many times whilst watching this (so childish, such an airhead!) Even more than his fiancée and future parents-in-law, who are just caricatured dumb American monsters.
Unlike the film, I wanted to stay in the past as much as possible. You don't need any knowledge of the period to get the jokes, not really (trust me on this). I thought the send-up of Hemingway was great, mainly because I detest Hemingway and Allen captures his moronic style and attitude wonderfully. As for the rest, Dali is weird. Buñuel gormless, Picasso intense. I suspect that Allen shirked spending too much time with them because the jokes wouldn't last and he knew he wouldn't be able to capture their real selves. The film is about escaping the glamours (as in bewitchments) of 'golden ages', but an intelligent exploration of what history or art can offer is avoided. That would have been a more interesting film. Honestly, I'm not sure if Allen is capable of making them anymore.