Whatever Works Review


Isn’t it ironic that I find myself reviewing a film by the name of one of my most used replies. “Whatever Works.” In the case of this film it’s whatever works, or whatever didn’t. Two completely different points of views one could associate to a film of this nature. This is a film for certain people, and certain people only. However, unsurprisingly I knew this going into this film since it was written and directed by Woody Allen.

Woody Allen has always been an eccentric individual and his films no less.  They always are a special type of comedy.  Larry David on the other hand could be considered that as well by some, but his popularity from the hit show Seinfeld could allow one to think otherwise.  Although it’s hard to argue that Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t eccentric in its own rights at times, but Larry David’s presence is of mere genius.  Much like Whatever Works the one thing that keeps you amused even if not a Woody Allen fan is the performance of Larry David himself.  A master of dialogue and it’s presentation.

The story is of Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) the gimp with the limp because of a failed suicide attempt due to a troubled marriage.  Boris goes out on his own and speaks his mind freely, with no regard to any one’s feelings.  One could compare Boris to that of Uncle Scrooge.  Mr. Bah Humbug himself.  Boris even goes as far as to humiliate and pick on little kids that he teaches chess to.  Don’t be mistaken, he is extremely smart and perhaps too smart for his own good.  A runner up for a Nobel  Prize in quantum physics which he claims he didn’t win solely because of politics.  So Mr. “Tell It Like It Is” goes home one night only to find a southern girl Melodie St. Ann Celestine (Evan Rachel Wood) scrounging about clamoring for food.  After quite a bit of twisting she manages to beg Boris enough to let her in for food.  Thus, the story begins.  Set in New York City the movie shows how a city of such magnitude can break down even the most innocent southern belle.  Film go’ers of eccentric titles like Lost In Translation should be pleased while other may be left dazed and confused.


Video quality on this title is very strong.  It has many great momemts and just a few small blemish moments in my humble opinion.  No part though should deter one’s opinion to swing on the bad side though.  Unless of course you despise grain.  Yes, whole wheat haters beware … the film has grain!  Lots of it!  However, it’s not so bad as some films can make it be.  The grain in this film is done almost throughout but it adds a film like quality to it and really doesn’t distract too much.  Clarity of small objects are shown greatly with rich fine detail while other things far off can be somewhat blurred.  Probably an effect used on purpose to get the center focus of the character on set/scene.


Good news, the blu-ray is packed with a 5.1 lossless HD track.  Bad news, it doesn’t really matter since the film is of pretty much just dialogue.  Never the less the clarity of voices is seamless and strong and Larry David rambles to perfection.  I cant possibly say that the audio could be better as its a great representation of this film in itself.  It’s always though how the films with big musical scores or action scenes that need the lossless DTS HD Master track dont get it and films of this nature do.  Funny stuff.


Supplements, Special Features, Extras! Errrrrrr No!  Much like my Frankenstein review all that Sony Pictures has included is some 1080p Trailers and access to BD-Live with capable Blu-ray Players.  So yeah, pretty weak.


Personally, I believe if you’re not a Larry David or Woody Allen (in the sense of this writing/directing) fan then you may not like this film at all.  However, if you’re the type of person who loves witty one-liners, punchlines, and stinging dialogue then this may be the flick for you.  For fans of this film it may merit a purchase but you might be better off with a rental.  Sony pictures did do a great job on the video transfer and the audio quality representation although the film does lack in supplements.  Interestingly enough I did notice a small grey bar on the front of this title that said “Sony Pictures Classic Collection” so it may be that we see tons more titles to hit this collection/series with such a great transfer.  Great transfer to Blu-ray Disc minus the lack of extras … c’mon we wanted at least a Woody commentary!

About the author

is a pop culture fanatic who loves to collect things from films that leave a lasting impression on him. A big fan of such brands like SteelBook, Mondo, and Sideshow. Favorite films or franchises include Braveheart, HEAT, Book of Eli, Ip Man, Nolan's Batman, Everything Marvel, and practically anything Quentin Tarantino touches. Proudly owns The Notebook, drives 88 mph, and know's exactly what was in Marsellus Wallace's briefcase!