Weird Woody?

Thank goodness for Penélope Cruz. That’s all I can say. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know her. Have obviously heard of her, but hearing does not denote knowing. Spanish actress. Real Spanish and none of this US based Latin American singer/actress stuff I was thinking. If I could swear, argue and curse in Spanish like Penélope, I’d be happy.

To make a film with a narrator telling the audience what the characters are thinking and feeling is so cringe-worthy. What I can’t decide is whether it’s supposed to be OK, because it’s Woody Allen doing it? Anyway, that’s what he does in his new film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. So, I cringed through the first half, and either I got used to it or it got better. The film sort of grew on me.

Javier Bardem was as cheesy as you’d expect when it comes to clumsy Spanish propositioning. (Now, don’t go all pc on me here. I don’t mean anything by it. But even a witch has been propositioned in Spanish by the Spanish. More cringe.) Javier is also genuinely Spanish, but sounds too Americanised in English.

A ménage à trois is not my thing, but trust me; it got better at this stage. More a ménage à five or six, depending on where you stop counting. Is this Allen being daring, or just himself?

The main plot is two American tourists in Barcelona falling for the same man, who has an ex-wife, and one of the American girls also has a husband after a while. This can’t end happily, but I was surprised to find Penélope didn’t go for the kitchen knives as expected.

Barcelona looked good, though I couldn’t help feeling that the sleaziness would have worked better in slightly seedier surroundings. And I don’t know what Allen sees in Scarlett Johansson. I really don’t. This is male fantasy, I reckon, but go and see it at Cornerhouse for fun.


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