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Vicky Christina Barcelona
Likeable Spanish comedy from Woody Allen
Reviewed by Matthew Arnoldi
Monday, 2 March 2009 - 8:35am
Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona boasts an all-star cast made up of the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson and Javier Bardem. It’s a film which has now been garlanded with the best supporting actress award for Penelope Cruz from the Baftas.
Two American friends Vicky and Christina (Scarlett Johansson and brit Rebecca Hall) decide to spend the Summer in Spain., specifically of course in Barcelona.
Photographer Christina (Johansson) is a bit of a wild child. She’s single and ready to bed a Spanish man if one comes along that takes her fancy. Her friend and fellow traveller Vicky (Hall) by contrast, is more settled, she has a fiancée at home that she’s planning to marry as soon as she gets home so she has no intention of getting involved with any Spanish men, believing she has met Mr Right. At least that’s her starting agenda at the beginning of the trip.
During the course of the summer however, both girls will find love. Before you can say Viva Espana ! love has come in the form of cultured and dashingly attractive older man Juan Antonio, a Spanish painter, played with memorable charm by Javier Bardem (and with a slightly better look than his pudding-base haircut in No Country for Old men !).
Juan Antonio is a self-confessed lothario who has no moral hang-ups about bedding both women, and not content with that, he also takes back under his roof, his feisty former old flame (played with great spice by Penelope Cruz) which Christina, having moved in with him, finds hard to accept at first. The Bafta-winning Cruz is excellent as Juan’s ex and adds real spice to the proceedings.
Naturally Bardem must have decided it was not a bad part to take up – taking part in a Woody Allen comedy that gives him not one, not two, and yes three beautiful actresses to get close to.
The latest film from legendary director, Woody Allen is a likeable Spanish comedy, perhaps one can even see it as Woody Allen’s homage to the works of Pedro Almodovar. He skillfully crafts a breezy comedy, keeping the tone light and allowing the actors to convince us of the romantic charm that comes out of these summer passions. Overall this is Woody Allen back in the groove, improving on his recent films that were weaker by comparison.
It's well worth it, showing off the sights of Barcelona in glorious sunshine and giving appropriate eye candy for both sexes ; a perfect diversion from the winter blues if you’re looking for sunny escapism, it would need to be washed down with a Paella and a large glass of rioja.