Cafe Society

Starring; Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Corey Stoll, Parker Posey, Anna Camp
Directed By: Woody Allen

Plot: Bobby (Eisenberg) moves out to Hollywood to work for his Uncle (Carell), who is a powerful agent, and ends up falling for his Uncle’s assistant (Stewart), who is also his mistress.

What Works: I thought Carell gave a really thoughtful performance here. Not his best, but certainly another one in the positive column for him. I also liked Kristen Stewart in this too. I don’t normally, but I thought she did a good job here. One of her better performances, actually. Lively, Stoll, and Posey are all good. I like Allen’s dialogue, and the overall production design on the film was neat. I laughed a few times. I enjoyed the film overall, though it’s not the best of the year.

What Doesn’t: Eisenberg spending the whole film pretending to basically be Woody Allen was grating. It’s like a film that Allen wrote for himself, but then decided he was clearly too old, so he cast a young jewish boy, and then Eisenberg felt like he needed to be Woody Allen instead of Jesse Eisenberg (which is already pretty close). Also, I thought the film went on and on, bouncing around. It didn’t control its own story, and had a lot of subplots that didn’t go anywhere or contribute to the core story. So while I think the dialogue was written well, I don’t think it was plotted well. I’m not sure that Stoll’s character at all contributed to the film. He serves only to explain how Bobby gets a nightclub, but that’s about it.

Final Word: This is a passable effort from Woody Allen. Not his best, but certainly not his worst. It moves along well, even if it seems to go on longer than needed. It rarely drags, and features a mostly impressive ensemble cast, specifically Stewart and Carell. The production design is good, and I was fairly entertained. I long for the days of Blue Jasmine, when Woody Allen has a true masterpiece. He’s a little overdue for one.

Final Grade: B

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