Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: June 19, 2009
6.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 103 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
68
Mixed:
11
Negative:
24
WATCH NOW
Stream On
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
10
HeyGuysNov 10, 2009
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 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
1 of 2 users found this helpful
9
JamesHJan 4, 2010
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 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
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
margaritarOct 13, 2009
I enjoyed every minute.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
BikerjamesDec 27, 2010
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 andI'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. Collapse
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
9
JohnDJul 4, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
AaronJ.L.Jul 5, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
PhilG.Jul 7, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
dennislJun 23, 2009
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'. 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
WodekSJun 26, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
RichardWJun 27, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
dfwforeignbuffNov 29, 2009
Whatever Works 2009 Allen
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
JayHOct 23, 2009
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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
billcOct 29, 2009
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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
BobJJun 19, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
BrianFJun 21, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
StuartLJun 24, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
WendyS.Jul 14, 2009
Do not believe the critic reviews--judging from the roaring laughter in the theater, a good time was had by all!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
RichardG.Jul 18, 2009
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
SandraPJul 4, 2009
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!!!!!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
NormJul 6, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
RubyGAug 14, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
KathleenCmSep 20, 2009
Time's review is correct, it is a life affirming film and very funny.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
BillyS.Jul 13, 2009
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 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! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
FantasyJul 15, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
ChristianB.Jul 26, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
murrayrJul 29, 2009
I loved the film, and so did the audience judging the way they applauded at the end.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
BarnyJun 6, 2016
It is an outrageously pedantic movie, the characters are misanthropists, misogynists, misandrists; and they play every stereotype in the book... but lovingly. It is a deeply dark comedy, sweet and acrid: you'll ever love or hate it, I enjoyedIt is an outrageously pedantic movie, the characters are misanthropists, misogynists, misandrists; and they play every stereotype in the book... but lovingly. It is a deeply dark comedy, sweet and acrid: you'll ever love or hate it, I enjoyed it, even if it is made by Woddy Allen. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
SpangleFeb 11, 2017
An hour and a half of Larry David complaining about the world and the human race directed by Woody Allen. There was no way I would not like Whatever Works. Accompanying this is a message of following your heart. No matter how bleak things mayAn hour and a half of Larry David complaining about the world and the human race directed by Woody Allen. There was no way I would not like Whatever Works. Accompanying this is a message of following your heart. No matter how bleak things may be in the world, as astutely pointed out by Boris Yellikoff (David), we all might as well embrace our desires, wishes, and dreams. If it provides happiness, do it and expect nothing less. If something makes you unhappy, stop doing it immediately. Though we all may die in the end and are a doomed race, certain to lead ourselves to extinction, we all have the right to make life less unbearable by finding something or somebody we love. Even if it is wrong in your mind, nothing that makes you truly happy and fulfilled is wrong (with exceptions, e.g. murder or killing people, but that is the exception not the rule).

Portraying an advanced Woody Allen character, Larry David is not just misanthropic, self-absorbed, cynical, and intensely pessimistic, he is Larry David. He may be playing a Jew named Boris, but he is Larry David or, at least, how I would imagine him to be in real life. That said, he does quite well here with incredibly smart and witty lines throughout, as well as lines so cruelly mean and open that it is impossible not to laugh. He is a brutally honest man who would be well served with a filter, but why filter your thoughts when you will die anyways? This is the line of thinking he is obsessed with it, but it is clear as to the source of his revolt and anger towards the human race: he is unhappy. He may be a perfect match for his first wife and his second wife is Evan Rachel Wood (talk about winning the lotto, eh?), but he is still unhappy. By the end, he has finally realized this and though an intensely negative person still, he has opened himself up to enjoying life and all of its futile little events.

This journey is one experienced by every other character. Melody (Evan Rachel Wood) is a simple girl from the south who ran away from home and got married to Boris because she was "at an impressionable age". Yet, he opened up her world to possibilities she never considered. By the time Randy (Henry Cavill) comes into her life, she is now ready for love and able to be a mature, smart adult at the same time. Her mother, Marietta (Patricia Clarkson), shows this same thing, but as an adult. Left by her husband for another woman, she quickly embraces her hidden sexual passion and love of photography. Heck, even her husband John (Ed Begley Jr.) gives himself over to happiness by pursuing a relationship with another man. Against their beliefs of how people should be and act, the entire family from the south has finally had their minds opened to happiness. It may seem that they were "cultured" or "shown the world", but they really just became willing to take chances and embrace who they really are. In essence, they went with "whatever works", not what the beliefs instilled in them since birth had taught them to think was perfect or the right path for somebody to take.

Though the film is pretty typical Woody Allen fare in terms of its negativity and belief that life just happens randomly, especially when it comes to love, Whatever Works is still an incredibly fun film. Its protagonist may be a bit off-putting, but he is also oddly charming and a perfect fit for an Allen film. With the rest of the cast, the film further develops its themes of life's randomness, while also ramming home the film's militant beliefs regarding religion and life. That said, it is neither anti-religion or anti-life. It is a film about a man so wrapped up in himself and unhappy, he is unable to see beyond the wall he built around himself to protect him from the outside world. In that way, though witty and whip smart, the film is also oddly tragic in how it shows Boris continue to drive people away and burrow himself deeper into routine and anger. Once you look past the rough spots though, he is a good man who simply hates himself and once he learns to stop hating himself, things can improve. Thus, though tragic, Whatever Works is a film that ends with assured beauty and a crucial message to embrace whatever makes your life worth living.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
dev92Aug 25, 2012
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 completelyI 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! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews