June 06, 2013
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Of all Woody Allen's recent movies, this one--along with Scoop--is the most entertaining. Allen is currently on a quest to capture all the romantic European cities. With Barcelona, there isn't so much of an expectation--as there was with Paris in Midnight in Paris. This is breezy, undemanding entertainment that is clever and unpredictable enough to feel fresh and playful.
Penelope Cruz plays Bardem's ex-wife, a dramatic, neurotic painter who allegedly tried to kill him during one of their famously intense fights. When she enters the picture, things get even more complicated. Allen presents Barcelona as a kind of drink, and its effects on the two unsuspecting American girls are like the effects of alcohol, intoxicating the senses, making them falter in their once sure-footed plans for the future, and filling them with a new-found appreciation for the unpredictable. With Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, and Kevin Dunn. Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch. 97 min. ★★★