User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 96
  2. Negative: 23 out of 96
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  1. Cat
    Jul 3, 2009
    3
    Stale retread of previous films, the humor and the characters feel dated. The only surprising thing was listening to such banal dialog issuing from the mouth of Larry David, who I associate with much sharper and fresher observations.
  2. JasonP.
    Jul 13, 2009
    1
    Perhaps the worst Woody Allen movie ever. Plot points make no sense: Larry David takes in a homeless girl for no conceivable reason; another man falls and stays deeply in love with her without cause; a woman falls in love with David's character because he falls on her while trying to commit suicide . Southerners are caricatures not characters. And it is unfunny throughout. Even the Perhaps the worst Woody Allen movie ever. Plot points make no sense: Larry David takes in a homeless girl for no conceivable reason; another man falls and stays deeply in love with her without cause; a woman falls in love with David's character because he falls on her while trying to commit suicide . Southerners are caricatures not characters. And it is unfunny throughout. Even the philosophy and physics he references is more or less out of date. As a number of reviewers mention, _Whatever Works_ is a return to his roots, but this has more to do with Allen's being out of ideas then it is about him updating his classics. Expand
  3. HeyGuys
    Nov 10, 2009
    10
    When a mildly intelligent film comes to theatres, you can count on mediocre critics everywhere jumping at the chance to tear down something smart in an effort to make themselves seem smarter. It's boring, doodz. And it's not constructive either. This is one of a very small handful of thoughtful movies to come out this year. And because you give pass after pass to shoddy action When a mildly intelligent film comes to theatres, you can count on mediocre critics everywhere jumping at the chance to tear down something smart in an effort to make themselves seem smarter. It's boring, doodz. And it's not constructive either. This is one of a very small handful of thoughtful movies to come out this year. And because you give pass after pass to shoddy action movies and palatable romances, your affected snobbery just comes across as anti-intellectual. And I'm not even saying this is a super duper intellectual movie! But compared to... everything else... well. Expand
  4. JamesH
    Jan 4, 2010
    9
    I'm a huge Woody Allen fan and I think this is the best film he's done since his 80's heydays. Larry David is brilliant and I was laughing right from the start and kept laughing throughout. Some people were turned off by the pessimism of the Larry David character, but being a pessimist myself I could relate and thought he was hilarious. I liked it even better than Vicki I'm a huge Woody Allen fan and I think this is the best film he's done since his 80's heydays. Larry David is brilliant and I was laughing right from the start and kept laughing throughout. Some people were turned off by the pessimism of the Larry David character, but being a pessimist myself I could relate and thought he was hilarious. I liked it even better than Vicki Christina Barcelona or Point Blank - the other two great recent Woody films. Expand
  5. margaritar
    Oct 13, 2009
    10
    I enjoyed every minute.
  6. Dec 27, 2010
    9
    I'm a huge Woody Allen fan and I think this is the best film he's done since his 80's heydays. Larry David is brilliant and I was laughing right from the start and kept laughing throughout. Some people were turned off by the pessimism and sarcasm of the Larry David character, but I thought he was hilarious. Even the other characters in the film ignored him and didn't take him seriously. II'm a huge Woody Allen fan and I think this is the best film he's done since his 80's heydays. Larry David is brilliant and I was laughing right from the start and kept laughing throughout. Some people were turned off by the pessimism and sarcasm of the Larry David character, but I thought he was hilarious. Even the other characters in the film ignored him and didn't take him seriously. I liked it even better than Vicki Christina Barcelona or Point Blank - the other two great recent Woody films. Expand
  7. JohnD
    Jul 4, 2009
    9
    An excellent Woody Allen film. He seems to go back to his routes with the dry humor about how life is terrible and everyone on this planet stinks. Great movie.
  8. AaronJ.L.
    Jul 5, 2009
    9
    I smiled all the way through. Witty, surprising, easy to watch, and refreshing. Also, for whatever it is worth, there is a lot of sex appeal.
  9. PhilG.
    Jul 7, 2009
    10
    I really feel like maybe this movie got one bad review, and then all the other critics just decided to follow suit. I agree with Norm that this is one of the best Woody Allen movies I've ever seen. Still laughing about some of it the next day.
  10. dennisl
    Jun 23, 2009
    7
    Not too bad. You gotta like Allen's New York angst to enjoy Larry David as his mouthpiece. As always, Woody's New York looks like a great place to have brunch. Don't understand why one critic called the movie 'sour'. It's sweeter than most Allen movies.
  11. WodekS
    Jun 26, 2009
    8
    If originality is your thing, then this film is not for you. However, if you think it is Woody Allen's right to remind us -- over and over again -- to protect ourselves from the temptations of nihilism, then "Whatever Works" was made for you. Besides it is very, very funny, sweet and - if that wasn't enough, it is a blue, New York, grenade aimed at the stereotypical heart of red If originality is your thing, then this film is not for you. However, if you think it is Woody Allen's right to remind us -- over and over again -- to protect ourselves from the temptations of nihilism, then "Whatever Works" was made for you. Besides it is very, very funny, sweet and - if that wasn't enough, it is a blue, New York, grenade aimed at the stereotypical heart of red America. Expand
  12. RichardW
    Jun 27, 2009
    9
    The Allen mix of cynicism and warmth plays so well with a superb cast making the most of NYC's magiic affect on even the most sarcastic.
  13. dfwforeignbuff
    Nov 29, 2009
    9
    Whatever Works 2009 Allen
  14. AlanS
    Oct 22, 2009
    1
    After the highs of Vicky Christina Barcelona, this was a massive disappointment and possibly the worst Woody Allen movie I've seen. Ludicrous premise, stale and cynical narrative, lack of laughs and genuinely poor acting. Genuinely dreadful. Avoid.
  15. JayH
    Oct 23, 2009
    7
    Interesting vintage style Woody Allen film, rather typical in his unique style. Very entertaining and well written. I do feel the cast lacked spark, with the exception of Patricia Clarkson. Evan Rachel Wood
  16. billc
    Oct 29, 2009
    7
    Feels very woody allen like of course and with a dash of Larry davids Curb charactor. Certainly watchable if you enjoy Curb or Woodies works. NOTHING
  17. BobJ
    Jun 19, 2009
    10
    Ignore the reviews. This film is excellent. The best Woody Allen film in 20 years. If you love Woody and you love Larry David, there is no way you won't love this film.
  18. BrianF
    Jun 21, 2009
    10
    I thoroughly enjoyed this film! Yes it does seem like Mr. Allen wrote it originally as a play, but so what. Whatever Works worked for me.
  19. StuartL
    Jun 24, 2009
    8
    Yes, it's a reprise of all you've already seen and heard from Allen and David. So it's not the cutting edge of cinema. But it is still one of the very few charming, entertaining films of a year already half over.
  20. WendyS.
    Jul 14, 2009
    9
    Do not believe the critic reviews--judging from the roaring laughter in the theater, a good time was had by all!
  21. RichardG.
    Jul 18, 2009
    9
    One of his best works in a decade. A sweet, funny movie that is a great follow-up to Vicky Christina Barcelona. A pure celebration of life. I really am loving his new direction in comedy. Two very good films in a row. (The later even better than the first). Evan Rachel Wood performance is impeccable and to my surprise Larry David exceeded my expectations, and was a joy to watch.
  22. SandraP
    Jul 4, 2009
    10
    Brilliant movie, beautiful, well-integrated story, fabulously funny lines and characters, basically optimistic, romantic, even mystical. this film in tradition of broadway danny rose. woody's a genius!!!!!
  23. Norm
    Jul 6, 2009
    10
    The critical critics, and there are many, complain about all the talk...talk...talk...talk. I say funny...funny...funny...funny. "Whatever Works" is the funniest Woody Allen movie ever. At least that is how I feel today, an hour after seeing it. Sure the familiar theme of the old guy hooking up with the young women is there (Without it we would suspect it wasn't really a Woody Allen The critical critics, and there are many, complain about all the talk...talk...talk...talk. I say funny...funny...funny...funny. "Whatever Works" is the funniest Woody Allen movie ever. At least that is how I feel today, an hour after seeing it. Sure the familiar theme of the old guy hooking up with the young women is there (Without it we would suspect it wasn't really a Woody Allen film). Larry David, with Woody's script, is terrific and does the best job I have ever seen of breaking the "4th wall." He does some hilarious talking to the audience which only he sees (because he is the only one smart enough to see the "big picture.") Evan Rachel Wood brings a break out comedic performance. Patrica Clarkson (always solid) takes advantage of her wide range of acting chops. Supposedly written in the '70s "Whatever Works" has been fine tuned for 2009 (with references to automatic flushing toilets; and a black president). Expand
  24. RubyG
    Aug 14, 2009
    9
    Loved the movie. We saw it in N.Y. and can't figure out why it hasn't played in the S.F. Bay Area.
  25. SoonY
    Aug 25, 2009
    1
    Extremely poor self-indulgent film. There is no "philosophy" - it's just justification as to why an old man (Woody) can use the life of a naive, lost youngster (Soon Yi) and then rationalize the bad, selfish, hedonistic behavior. The critics were dead on accurate. This film should just be titled "the whole world is an orgy of infidelity, just relax and enjoy." The on stage move to Extremely poor self-indulgent film. There is no "philosophy" - it's just justification as to why an old man (Woody) can use the life of a naive, lost youngster (Soon Yi) and then rationalize the bad, selfish, hedonistic behavior. The critics were dead on accurate. This film should just be titled "the whole world is an orgy of infidelity, just relax and enjoy." The on stage move to camera was ridiculous and doesn't work. The story is absurdly predictable. I give it a 1 for the fact that it had a few funny lines but that is it. People are dumber than a bag of bricks and if Larry David is in it and it has a few lines, then it's "genius." I got it. Go rent a porno and you'll be more satisfied than this tripe. Expand
  26. KathleenCm
    Sep 20, 2009
    8
    Time's review is correct, it is a life affirming film and very funny.
  27. CharlieG
    Nov 1, 2009
    0
    Finally a movie that has made Cube look like quality entertainment. Perhaps like me you saw the previews and thought, hey, what a witty film! Don't worry, you just saw the only four funny lines in the film. Whatever Works should have been advertised as lite porn for octogenarians, and even they might get turned off by the incessant yammering spewed from Bore_us that passes Finally a movie that has made Cube look like quality entertainment. Perhaps like me you saw the previews and thought, hey, what a witty film! Don't worry, you just saw the only four funny lines in the film. Whatever Works should have been advertised as lite porn for octogenarians, and even they might get turned off by the incessant yammering spewed from Bore_us that passes for...intellectual charm? There's only so much poorly phrased "quantum mechanics" based put-downs a person can tolerate from a liberal arts major. Perhaps Melody isn't the only one who could stand to benefit from some college courses. But don't misunderstand, it's not just bad wording this film suffers from. Nor is it the fact that the main character is an opportunistic pedophile, or that all of the women are just waiting to get it on with multiple men (and I use that term loosely as there is only one hot man in the entire film). It's the complete flaunting of religion, life purpose, and basic human decency responsibility. Instead of fathers being fathers you get sex crazed closet homosexuals; instead of mothers being mothers you get promiscuous pimps that are OK with their daughters being whores to older men but really would prefer shallower jerks with nicer exteriors. And instead of younger women being intelligent, responsible, or even mildly desirous of having children you get brainless ditzes who are not just OK with having sex, but have no other life meaning. This movie makes me want to join the American Riffle Association in case there are any zealous fans infesting my neighborhood. I'd be happy to help Woody achieve better results with these failed suicide attempts I hear he's struggling with. Expand
  28. DanC
    Nov 2, 2009
    0
    Wow. i left this feeling not only cheated but depressed. allen, through the medium of an off-time, awkward larry david, throws at us about 200 reasons why we should be unhappy, panicked, depressed and worried. does allen really take us for such fools that he thinks he's the only one who can see 'the big picture' (a phrase used ad nauseam) and that we are all outside of his Wow. i left this feeling not only cheated but depressed. allen, through the medium of an off-time, awkward larry david, throws at us about 200 reasons why we should be unhappy, panicked, depressed and worried. does allen really take us for such fools that he thinks he's the only one who can see 'the big picture' (a phrase used ad nauseam) and that we are all outside of his apartment window hopelessly banging heads with each other, clueless to the whats going beyond our own noses? god, its unspeakably self-righteous and bitter. the most self-righteous movie ever made possibly. Expand
  29. BillyS.
    Jul 13, 2009
    10
    Any Woody Allen film is a guarantee that it's better than 90% of all the other films out there. He's back in New York and he's got Larry David in one of the most brilliant casting moves in his career, he's brought Patricia Clarkson back for another hilarious turn and with Harris Savides behind the camera how can it not be great! Come on, It's WOODY ALLEN!
  30. Fantasy
    Jul 15, 2009
    9
    This was a very funny movie. Larry David played well Larry David AKA a younger Woody Allen. The professional critics got this wrong. If you are from NYC you will LOVE this movie. Go and enjoy.
  31. ChristianB.
    Jul 26, 2009
    10
    Deep philosophy hidden behind superficial humor. Great actors. One of the best American films I watched recently. Meets European quality on acting, while telling an American story.
  32. murrayr
    Jul 29, 2009
    9
    I loved the film, and so did the audience judging the way they applauded at the end.
  33. Aug 25, 2012
    7
    I am not sure why this website continually knocks intelligent films but this was actually highly funny. Larry David is always on top form and Woody Allen produced yet another hilarious and witty film. Evan Rachel Woods was completely different to normal too, I didn't even recognise her!
Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. It's hard to get past the primitiveness of Allen’s fantasies.
  2. 50
    It isn't the laugh riot of the year.
  3. Features enough genuine laughs to give it decent commercial traction.