Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The New Woody Allen Trailer is here

Cate Blanchett stars in some sort of San Franciscan thing

Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 19:33


Woody Allen is in an odd place. It is only two films since his most successful picture of all time. Unhappily for him, the critical and commercial triumph that was Midnight in Paris led on to the less well-recieved To Rome With Love. I don’t know why everyone was so down on that movie. Yes, it did feature some awful Allen cliches: the funny prostitute who liberates a middle-aged drone, in particular. But at least two of the stories were properly funny.

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Anyway, the unhappy reception seems to have dissuaded Woody from continuing his recent practice of dropping the location into the title. Though set in California’s loveliest large city, his latest film is not called I left my Heart in San Francisco or whatever. It is called Blue Jasmine. That is because — we now learn — Cate Blanchett plays a woman named Jasmine who moves east to stay with her sister after losing all her money. Sally Hawkins as Blanchett’s sibling? I suppose stranger things have happened.

It wouldn’t be a Woody Allen trailer without one honkingly typical moment (that’s to say Woody Allen is always recognisably Woody Allen). It comes about two thirds of the way through when Blanchett complains that her xanex isn’t kicking in. Thirty years ago it would have been Valium. But the joke is much the same.

Here’s the thing about this trailer. You could sit through the entire thing without working out whether the film is a comedy or a drama. Heck, I did just that. There are comics in it. But Louis C K is famously miserable and Andrew Dice Clay (yes, that’s really him) — 1980s American Jim Davidson-alike — is positively terrifying. The jaunty music appears to be pointing us in a jokey direction. You could not, however, say that there are many gags in the promo.

A few minutes research confirms that the film is intended as a drama. Indeed, if you ponder it, the trailer suggests a Californian version of A Streetcar Named Desire. Cate is Blanche. Sally is Stella. Bobby Cannavale looks like a candidate for Stanley. I call trailer fraud! It looks to me — that music alone, dear — as if the people at Sony have decided to repackage one of Woody’s dramas as a comedy. Shame upon you.¬†We will have to wait until late September to pass full judgement.

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