1 hr. 25 min.
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
for some vioelnce, a drug reference, suggestive material and smoking
Steve Carell ...
Sheryl Lee ...
Todd Weeks ...
Paul Schackman ...
Jodi Carlisle ...
Richard Portnow ...
Jeannie Berlin ...
Ken Stott ...
Jesse Eisenberg ...
Sari Lennick ...
Stephen Kunken ...
Laurel Griggs ...
Corey Stoll ...
Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a Jewish New Yorker who tires of his
father's business and decides to try his hand at Los Angeles. He has an
uncle, Phil Stern (Steve Carell), who is a powerful agent in Hollywood,
and after several failed attempts at a meeting, he manages to land a
kind of job as a glorified assistant. Uncle Phil assigns his own
secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) to look after
him, and Bobby falls madly in love with her. Vonnie already has
something going on, but finds herself intrigued by Bobby's nervous,
kindhearted charms. It all leads to a painful love triangle that spans
more time and more locations. Bobby returns to New York, where he
marries another beauty (Blake Lively) -- also called Veronica -- and
becomes a kind of greeter in a nightclub run by his gangster brother
(Corey Stoll). There the past comes back to bite him.
A big part of the movie is the concept of name-dropping, of getting
close to glamour and glory, without actually attaining it. Vonnie takes
Bobby on a sight-seeing tour of Hollywood, showing him the fabulous
mansions of the rich and famous, with both of them asserting that they
don't really want that for themselves. Uncle Phil is constantly talking
about his clients; just about every 1930s star and director you can
think of is mentioned at some point. The film seems to teeter between
the allure of fantasy and the acceptance of reality, never quite coming
to grips with either thing. And, of course, fantasy can extend to
romance, as well as hobnobbing with stars at fabulous palaces. Bobby's
two women are both beautiful, but he's never quite satisfied with one or
the other, or, vice-versa: the women are never quite satisfied either.Cafe Society isn't particularly inspired when it comes to some of the details.
The world of Hollywood is effectively represented, but while Corey
Stoll does his best, the world of New York gangsters feels unreal. Some
of the jokes and the religious discussions feel pilfered from earlier
films, not so much an expansion of certain ideas, but merely a repeating
of them. And, frankly, for a comedy, this is probably one of Woody Allen's
least funny efforts. But, in the end, there's still enough here to
make Cafe Society worth seeing. Mainly, there's the chemistry
between Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart -- this is their third time together as an
onscreen couple, and they have a genuine sweetness, a kind of awkward, open-hearted
feeling that is truly touching. It seems to prove that,
whatever else Woody Allen may or may not be wrestling with in his life, he's
likely still a romantic, and that's probably enough.