The wrong entertainment choice

What planet is Woody Allen on?


I ask that after having seen his most recent film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Yeah, the one with Scarlett Jo and the other girl, and Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. “It’s about relationships, and how they’re fleeting,” my friend Eugene said in its defense. He loved it.

I, on the other hand, hated it. Never mind that the dialogue was a joke (not in a good way) and the performances awkward and stiff (didn’t Cruz win an Academy Award for her portrayal of Bardem’s crazy ex? Jesus).

She's crazy, see—she smokes!

She's crazy, see—she smokes!

No, what really annoyed me is that Woody seems to have no clue as to how normal people actually relate to one another. I can accept the premise that Bardem is this super-sexy, charismatic painter who convinces both Johansson and the other girl (not to mention Cruz) to sleep with him. But the way the characters go around spouting half-assed jargon about who they are and what they want, the painfully banal narration, the detours to tell stories about secondary folks that are even less interesting than the main protagonists, all pointed to one thing: any insight Woody Allen might have had into these here modern-day relationships is long past. Heck, you can glean more insight from an average Sex and the City episode.


Speaking of which… I watched Vicky Cristina Barf-elona on Saturday night, the same night my parents (I was visiting my folks this past weekend) went off to see the Winnipeg version of dinner theatre. It’s called Celebrations and it puts on its own productions, perhaps so they don’t have to pay royalties. I’ve seen a few of these, and they are invariably spoofs of popular entertainment. A few years back I saw a Star Trek take-off; the creative minds behind Celebrations called it “Star Trick”. Anyway, my point is that, instead of staying in to watch the latest Allen fiasco, I probably would’ve been better off going off with the parental units to see—wait for it—“Sexy Gals in the City”.

You guessed it—it’s a Sex and the City spoof, complete with “Samantha Bones”, “Charlotte Stork”, “Keri Bradsaw” and “Amanda Bobbs”. Yep, sometimes this stuff just writes itself. (Upcoming shows: “Thank You Mr. Presley”, March 20-May 23, celebrates Elvis; “Strut and Jive the Night Away”, May 29-Aug. 1, salutes disco; and “Luck Be a Lady”, Aug. 7-Oct. 10, tips its hat to the Rat Pack.)

Now, I don’t know what the plot was, or even if there is one. And my father’s pithy critique didn’t offer much to go on—”It wasn’t really my cup of tea,” he said, as he drove me to the airport in the dead of a frozen Winnipeg March morning, “It’s about the women”. But I’m betting it had more to say about men and women and relationships than Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

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