7.2/10
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Whatever Works (2009)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 3 July 2009 (USA)
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A middle-aged, misanthropic divorcée from New York City surprisingly enters a fulfilling, Pygmalion-type relationship with a much younger, unsophisticated Southern girl.

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry David ... Boris
Adam Brooks ... Boris' Friend
Lyle Kanouse ... Boris' Friend
Michael McKean ... Boris' Friend
Clifford Lee Dickson Clifford Lee Dickson ... Boy on Street
Yolonda Ross ... Boy's Mother
Carolyn McCormick ... Jessica
Samantha Bee ... Chess Mother
Evan Rachel Wood ... Melody Celestine
Conleth Hill ... Brockman
Marcia DeBonis ... Lady at Chinese Restaurant
John Gallagher Jr. ... Perry
Willa Cuthrell ... Chess Girl (as Willa Cuthrell Tuttleman)
Nicole Patrick ... Perry's Friend
Patricia Clarkson ... Marietta
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Storyline

Attempting to impress his ideologies on religion, relationships, and the randomness (and worthlessness) of existence, lifelong New York resident Boris Yellnikoff rants to anyone who will listen, including the audience. But when he begrudgingly allows naive Mississippi runaway Melodie St. Ann Celestine to live in his apartment, his reclusive rages give way to an unlikely friendship and Boris begins to mold the impressionable young girl's worldly views to match his own. When it comes to love, "whatever works" is his motto, but his already perplexed life complicates itself further when Melodie's parents eventually track her down. Written by The Massie Twins

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, brief nude images and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Woody Allen Project See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$266,162, 21 June 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,306,447, 30 October 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,097,815, 12 August 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house in which Boris Yelnikoff (Larry David) lives with his first wife is the same one used for the house in which Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Chloe Hewett Wilton (Emily Mortimer) live in after they got married in Match Point (2005). See more »

Goofs

When Melodie says "He doesn't have a lot of patience for US inchworms.", Boris incorrectly corrects her and says "WE inchworms". Boris is supposed to be a genius, but Melodie was actually correct. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Boris Yellnikoff: That's not what I'm saying, imbecile. You guys completely misrepresent my ideas, why would I even want to talk with those idiots.
Boris' Friend: Just calm down.
Boris' Friend: That's not true, Boris.
Boris Yellnikoff: No, don't tell me to calm down, I am calm. Just stop.
Boris' Friend: Don't jump on us just because we don't understand what you're saying.
Boris Yellnikoff: I didn't jump on you. It's not the idea behind Christianity I'm faulting, or Judaism, or any religion. It's the professionals who've made it into corporate business. There's big money in the ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Worst Films of 2009 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Buttmeat Boogie
Written by Kent Buchanon (as Kent Bucchanon)
Performed by Kent Buchanon (as Kent Bucchanon)
Courtesy of Extreme Production Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cynical, Witty and Hilarious Return to New York
18 October 2010 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In New York, the bitter and grumpy Professor of Quantum Mechanics in Columbia University Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) is a snobbish and pretentious intellectual that claims to be a genius in String Theory and that the world is completely wrong. During an existential crisis, Boris ends his marriage with Jessica (Carolyn McCormick) and jumps through the window to commit suicide. However the canopy saves his life and Boris becomes limp and quits his job in Columbia. He moves to an old apartment downtown and gives chess classes to children to make some money. When the simpleminded religious Mississippi runaway Melodie Saint Ann Celestine (Evan Rachel Wood) asks for food to him, he temporarily lodges the girl in his apartment. Along the days, the atheist Boris shapes Melodie to his thoughts and the girl, impressed with his pretentious geniality, fits his world. Despite their difference of ages, they marry each other and have a routine life. However, the world of Boris changes when out of the blue Melodie's mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson) arrives in their apartment.

"Whatever Works" is an ironic romantic comedy about how irrational things of the heart are. The lead character Boris Yellnikoff is annoying and maybe reflects the alter ego of Woody Allen in the present days. But the black humor is hilarious and does not disappoint the fans of this great director, with cynical and witty lines. The return of Woody Allen to New York is great and shows that he has not lost his shape. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Tudo Pode Dar Certo" ("Everything Can Work")


14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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