Cafe Society

I wanted to crawl right into the very first frame, so luscious and drenched with colour it was. If I had turned it off right then and there, I may have dreamed in technicolour and sung the film’s praises. I didn’t.

Cafe Society is a beacon of hope to all the men who have been friend-zoned. Stick around for long enough to provide the shoulder to cry on when she eventually breaks up with her boyfriend, who is cooler, more interesting, and more wasp2015_day_21-0031.CR2successful than you, and you might actually find her vulnerable enough to prey on her heartbreak and win. For a while. But since you’re still nerdy old you she’ll eventually wise up and leave your ass, potentially even for the ex who doesn’t deserve her, and you’ll have to content yourself with second place. If second place always looked like Blake Lively you might thank your lucky stars, but Woody Allen is an idiot, so here we are.

Bobby is the Woody-Allen-stand-in in this case, played by Jesse Eisenberg, an inspired choice because he’s already got the annoying neuroticism and concave chest. He’s not content with the similarity though, he goes full-on chanelwa15_d21_00172-h_2016_0impression, right down to the self-conscious body language and flighty hand gestures. Bobby moves to Hollywood, trying to escape the family business. He goes to his uncle Phil (Steve Carrell), an important guy at a big movie studio, who barely makes time for him, and pawns him off on his secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). Eisenberg and Stewart have a twitchy chemistry that works well, but it does mean you’ll have to watch the two most high-strung performances in Hollywood today. Simultaneously. In a Woody Allen movie.

Steve Carrell is the best thing about this movie, and he wasn’t supposed to be in it. He replaced Bruce Willis well into filming after Brucie was fired for being a diva and not learning his lines. The costumes are also divine. ‘Cafe society’ was coined to describe the beautiful people hanging out in night clubs, and all those beautiful people are prettily dressed and on sumptuous display. This is Woody Allen’s first digitally captured movie, and his first collaboration with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro – if he’s smart, it’ll be the first of many, because this film is gorgeous if nothing else. And yeah – nothing else. It feels like two different stories stitched inexpertly together (Allen provides the stitching – he narrates the thing, cause he just can’t keep his wrinkly hands OFF). Despite the window dressing, Cafe Society is a love story at its core, but a love story between two people you don’t really care about, and you don’t even like. The end.

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24 thoughts on “Cafe Society

  1. J.

    Eisenberg and Stewart have been in a few flicks together now, eh?

    Bruce Willis, though. What happened to him? Was he always like that?

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    1. Jay Post author

      I’ve heard diva stuff about him before. I still kind of love him. Carrell was great though, probably should have been him from the start.
      And yes, someone keeps pairing those two, and they are kind of spirit animals.

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  2. BroadBlogs

    Sounds like an interesting movie to see, but maybe it’s just they movie name “café society.” Also interesting that Steve Carrell took over Bruce Willis’s role. I never would’ve thought of those two playing the same role.

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  3. sati

    Love Carell, not in the least surprised he was the best thing about it. Woody should really stop making a movie per year, he gets a good one every other year and in the meantime he just wastes everyone’s time with those mediocre efforts

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  4. tubularsock

    Woody Allen has only made ONE MOVIE, at least according to Tubularsock! And then he spins a movie a year off that one movie. It is always about high strung, neurotic, wealthy people that create problems for themselves and then spend movie time going pretty much no where.
    Tubularsock LOVES everything Woody Allen has produced and even his third best out plays most of the shit produced by other American film makers.
    No, Tubularsock doesn’t have an opinion! Why would you think that?

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  5. Susan Leighton

    If Eisenberg went full on Allen, I can see why it was uber annoying. Storaro was the DP responsible for Reds, Apocalypse Now and The Last Emperor. All were wonderfully shot. I think Allen’s later films are highly overrated and sometimes I don’t even bother. Just from your review, this seems like one I will miss.

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  6. Pingback: Cafe Society — ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES | David Falor

  7. ozflicks

    Yeah. I agree with your review. I’m a big Woody fan, but this left me cold, because I couldn’t care about the characters, plus I don’t like Steve Carrell. I don’t know why the critics and a lot of the public bought into it. This film looked great, but … huh. For me, this movie is summed up by these synonyms: insipid, uninspired, colourless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dead, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, lifeless, zestless, spiritless, sterile, anaemic, tame, bloodless, jejune, vacuous, bland, stale, trite, pallid, wishy-washy, watery, tasteless, flavourless. I agree with Sati that he should stop making a movie every year and spend a bit more time on making his films better.
    I did like Midnight in Paris but he’s had a bit of a down period since the early 80s.

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