Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
With Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen has finally descended completely into the chick lit subgenre, bringing his evergreen fascination for ostensible intellectualism and art to a new high (or low depending on your viewpoint). Shot and produced in Barcelona with a lense so saturated that it seems the characters are in operation only at sunset, Allen lets his characters rumble along through interesting proceedings with generally implausible reactional patterns.
Woody might think he is creating a film which celebrates art and free spirits, but it is so flimsily written that we mostly cannot even enjoy the escapism it offers. Our two female protagonists, who are supposed to be multilayered and complex, are inanimate, corruptible plot puppets. Allen was once renowned for writing strong, inspirational women, but the female gender should be offended by his portrayal of them here. And it's not like we get any eroticism in return for the lack of depth, because for a film as preoccupied with the sharing of body fluids as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, it is strangely uptight and awkward in this area.
After hints in both Match Point and Cassandra's Dream, Allen fully demonstrates here that his overembellished, pseudo-artsy worldview has gotten completely out of touch with reality. His embrace of the free-thinking Europe as a counterpoint to the materialistic United States comes off just as stereotypical as the picturesque postcards he is trying to send home from Spain. The film features nice music and fine actors, but the narrator and characters belong in a Harlequin novel.