A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite the fact that the movie deals with subjects like infidelity, a dismal worldview, and even suicide attempts, thereâ€™s also a lot of hope and humor.
Violence & Scariness
Heated arguments, with yelling. A man jumps out of a window, and, on his second attempt, lands on a person.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Actual scenes are fairly chaste, but scenarios arenâ€™t: A conservative married woman arrives in New York and transforms herself into an artist involved in a happy threesome (three people are shown under covers, but no body parts are revealed). Her estranged husband takes up with a man. Another married character cheats on her husband. Open discussions about sex. Some suggestive photographs are shown.
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Insults aplenty, such as â€œstupid,â€ â€œcracker,â€ and â€œimbecile.â€ Also â€œgoddamn.â€
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking at a bar; a little bit of smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this tepid Woody Allen comedy tackles mature themes like threesomes, homosexual relationships, and infidelity, though there's little actual nudity or explicit sexual content. The main character tries to commit suicide (played lightly) but isn't successful. The language tends toward the insulting at times, but it isn't overly coarse; expect a little bit of drinking and smoking as well. The humor will most likely appeal to grown-ups or precocious older teens -- don't expect this to be on many kids' must-see list. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sadly, WHATEVER WORKS doesn't work. Though Allen's exquisite turns of phrase still amuse, the film feels dated, of a time when threesomes and May-December affairs still shocked (not surprisingly, the script is one that was initially written decades ago). David, supremely entertaining in Curb Your Enthusiasm, is wrong here, even if he is funny. Allen's lost and brittle male protagonists need vulnerability for the story to work -- think Alvy in Annie Hall -- and vulnerable David most certainly isn't. Plus, there's little to no chemistry between him and Wood (they barely hug).
But here's the biggest rub: Allen's movies are always of their place -- New York in the lion's share of his canon and, more recently, London and Barcelona. But the New York we see here seems robbed of energy and inspiration ... kind of like the movie itself.
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Our Editors Recommend
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