Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Woody Allen returns to New York with an offbeat comedy about a crotchety misanthrope and a naïve, impressionable young runaway from the south. When her uptight parents, arrive to rescue her, they are quickly drawn into wildly unexpected romantic entanglements. Everyone discovers that finding love is just a combination of lucky chance and appreciating the value of Whatever Works. (Sony Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    No kidding: this is the feel-good movie of the year and a cinematic soul massage.
  2. 75
    At one and the same time it feels like a decent-but-not-great film of his '70s period and a perky and tart entry in his modestly successful revival in the last half-decade. Neat trick.
  3. Easily one of the loosest, most satisfying comedies to hail from the prolific writer/director in a while.
  4. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    This far-fetched, deliberately artificial game of musical chairs -- in which mismatched characters encircle, attract and repel each other -- feels forced, often losing itself in excess verbiage.
  5. As Whatever Works creaks along, the attention-getting nastiness of the first half dissipates and it turns into just another Woody Allen overacted sex farce. Of all the insults hurled about in the film, perhaps the worst is its pandering conclusion. What exactly does Allen take his audience for? A bunch of mindless zombies?
  6. 0
    This toxic, contemptuous, unforgivably unfunny bagatelle finds Allen at his most misanthropically one-note.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 34
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 34
  3. Negative: 6 out of 34
  1. BobJ
    Jun 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. Collapse
  2. 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. Expand
  3. HeyGuys
    Nov 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 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. 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!
  5. KathleenCm
    Sep 20, 2009
    Time's review is correct, it is a life affirming film and very funny.
  6. billc
    Oct 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
  7. CharlieG
    Nov 1, 2009
    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

See all 34 User Reviews