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Hit-or-Miss Mastermind Woody Allen Recaptures Genius With Eccentric ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

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CHICAGO – While legendary writer and director Woody Allen can’t always be equated with sheer genius these days and is more accurately described as a hit-or-miss proposition, the sorely undermarketed and film-festival touring “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” serves as unquestionable retribution for his recently questionable work.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The film, which stars Hollywood sensations Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson and Penélope Cruz, all throughout makes you feel like Allen’s script has something brilliant up its artistic sleeve. While at times you’ll easily predict when sex is on deck, Allen uses “No Country for Old Men” star Javier Bardem literally as his blunt instrument.

In the real world, of course, even a man of his charisma couldn’t walk up to a woman with Scarlett Johansson’s magnetism and lure her into a weekend of bliss and eroticism with these simple words: “We’re getting on my plane in an hour for a weekend of drinking fine wine and making love.”

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

StarView our full, high-resolution “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” image gallery.

While Bardem can this time because Allen’s script makes Johansson’s risqué character do it, his true treat is scoring a triple play by convincing Johansson’s rule-driven friend – played by the relatively unknown Rebecca Hall – to seek the same interesting slice of life.

Hall’s character is completely out of character in going along with this ride and is in the process of marrying a man who feels to her much like a sedative.

Amid all the wining and dining, Bardem displays his range as an actor. He puts out of our mind his powerfully villainous character in “No Country for Old Men” and completely transforms himself for Allen’s creation into an artistic, charismatic and confident Spanish lover.

The protagonists, of course, wouldn’t be complete without the antagonistic presence of Penélope Cruz. Despite training rigorously with a teacher and a paintbrush for her painting scenes, though, Cruz still admits to having “faked” these scenes.

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which is written and directed by Woody Allen and stars Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz, Rebecca Hall, Patricia Clarkson and Chris Messina, opens on Aug. 15, 2008.

StarContinuing reading for Adam Fendelman’s full “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” review.

Penelope Cruz stars as Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona from director Woody Allen
Penélope Cruz stars as María Elena in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” from director Woody Allen.
Photo credit: Victor Bello, The Weinstein Company

Javier Bardem (left center) and Scarlett Johansson (right center) star in Vicky Cristina Barcelona from director Woody Allen
Javier Bardem (left center) and Scarlett Johansson (right center) star in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.
Photo credit: Victor Bello, The Weinstein Company

StarContinuing reading for Adam Fendelman’s full “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” review.

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