Review: Cafe Society, B-
Rated PG-13, 96 minutes
The new Woody Allen romantic comedy "Cafe Society" is a charming, well-acted yet lightweight period piece that will rank as a middling effort in the annals of the prolific, Oscar-winning director and writer, at least compared to "Annie Hall" or "Midnight in Paris." Looking for an exciting career, young Bobby Dorfman leaves New York for the glitz and glamour of 1930s Hollywood. After landing a job with his uncle, Bobby falls for Vonnie, a charming woman who happens to be his employer's mistress. Settling for friendship but ultimately heartbroken, Bobby returns to the Bronx and begins working in a nightclub. Everything falls into place when he finds romance with a beautiful socialite, until Vonnie walks back into his life and captures his heart once again. "Cafe Society" is an engaging look at romance in Hollywood in the 1930's, though it's a little more pensive in tone than most of Allen's comedies, not to mention the narration from Allen himself is a little annoying and overbearing; he must describe in detail every nuance from minor characters that have little bearing on the story itself, something that indicate the director really wanted a part in the film. Other than that, "Cafe Society" works modestly well: the love triangle with Eisenberg, Stewart and Steve Carrell is an involving one, and it helps that Allen has an impeccable eye for production design: the costumes, cars, music and sets are all lovely and detailed, not to mention he has assembled a stellar supporting cast. Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll and Jeannie Berlin all make memorable impressions as part of Bobby's inner circle. "Cafe Society" shows that love may work out in different ways than you expect, however the sullen ending, which is atypical for Allen, may not be to everyone's liking. Still, even serviceable Allen is better than most films these days, while it isn't his best, it's still worth seeing.