Café Society (2016)
Set in the 1930s, Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) travels from New York to Hollywood to find work with his uncle (Steve Carell) who works in movies. Here, Bobby falls in love with Vonnie (Kristen Stuart) but she is torn because she is in love with someone else, who just so happens to be older and married.
Written and directed by Woody Allen, Café Society is all about the setting, costumes and character interactions. The story here is somewhat interesting but it essentially is a love story that is tragic and typical. Jesse Eisenberg feels out of place in this kind of movie. I never bought him as someone who would become a big-shot night club owner. Steve Carell also feels out of place as a sleazy Hollywood business man and don’t even get me started on Kristen Stuart! I just didn’t understand the casting choices. I would have gone with completely other actors.
Another aspect I didn’t like was the typical blah story. This movie is basically a love story gone bad by adding a love triangle into the mix and then fast-forwarding years later just to drag it all up again. I felt like something was missing to make this movie interesting because it was simply a “love story.” Not to mention, what is Woody Allen’s obsession with people cheating on one another? What was the point of the scene with the Hooker?
The good things here are the flamboyant characters, the setting and the costumes. This movie feels like something from the 1930s and the characters are anything but dull. However, when you put these characters into a dull script, you can’t help but expect more. Woody Allen has been putting out these love stories as of late (Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, Magic in the Moonlight) and I can’t see what puts this one apart from the others. Plenty of people are eating this one up for award season, but I just didn’t get it. I guess if you use the early 1900s as a setting over and over, it is easy to have people love it. Unless you like most of Woody Allen’s other works, this is a pass. Co-starring Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Anna Camp, Corey Stoll, Douglas McGrath, Gregg Binkley, Jeannie Berlin, Ken Stott, Lev Gorn, Paul Schneider, and Sheryl Lee.
4/10 Stars – Even though the setting and characters hold water, the casting choices are strange and the story is dull and unoriginal.