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Whatever Works (2009)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 3 July 2009 (USA)
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A middle-aged, misanthropic divorcée from New York City surprisingly enters a fulfilling, Pygmalion-type relationship with a much younger, unsophisticated Southern girl.

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen
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4,977 ( 91)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry David ... Boris
Adam Brooks ... Boris' Friend
Lyle Kanouse ... Boris' Friend
Michael McKean ... Boris' Friend
Clifford Lee Dickson Clifford Lee Dickson ... Boy on Street
Yolonda Ross ... Boy's Mother
Carolyn McCormick ... Jessica
Samantha Bee ... Chess Mother
Evan Rachel Wood ... Melody Celestine
Conleth Hill ... Brockman
Marcia DeBonis ... Lady at Chinese Restaurant
John Gallagher Jr. ... Perry
Willa Cuthrell ... Chess Girl (as Willa Cuthrell Tuttleman)
Nicole Patrick ... Perry's Friend
Patricia Clarkson ... Marietta
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Storyline

Attempting to impress his ideologies on religion, relationships, and the randomness (and worthlessness) of existence, lifelong New York resident Boris Yellnikoff rants to anyone who will listen, including the audience. But when he begrudgingly allows naive Mississippi runaway Melodie St. Ann Celestine to live in his apartment, his reclusive rages give way to an unlikely friendship and Boris begins to mold the impressionable young girl's worldly views to match his own. When it comes to love, "whatever works" is his motto, but his already perplexed life complicates itself further when Melodie's parents eventually track her down. Written by The Massie Twins

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, brief nude images and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Woody Allen Project See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$266,162, 21 June 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,306,447, 30 October 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,097,815, 12 August 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like Woody Allen's later film Blue Jasmine (2013), this film takes several cues from Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire". Marietta, a Southern woman visiting the big city, echoes Blanche DuBois in several ways, including being horrified at Melodie's apartment and being coy about her drinking. At least one of her lines ("You are not the gentleman I was expecting") is a direct homage to "A Streetcar Named Desire". See more »

Goofs

When Melodie says "He doesn't have a lot of patience for US inchworms.", Boris incorrectly corrects her and says "WE inchworms". Boris is supposed to be a genius, but Melodie was actually correct. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Boris Yellnikoff: That's not what I'm saying, imbecile. You guys completely misrepresent my ideas, why would I even want to talk with those idiots.
Boris' Friend: Just calm down.
Boris' Friend: That's not true, Boris.
Boris Yellnikoff: No, don't tell me to calm down, I am calm. Just stop.
Boris' Friend: Don't jump on us just because we don't understand what you're saying.
Boris Yellnikoff: I didn't jump on you. It's not the idea behind Christianity I'm faulting, or Judaism, or any religion. It's the professionals who've made it into corporate business. There's big money in the ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Hello I Must Be Going
From the Original Soundtrack Animal Crackers (1930)
Written by Bert Kalmar (as Bert Kalmer) & Harry Ruby
Performed by Groucho Marx and Cast
Courtesy of Universal Studios
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It works
29 November 2009 | by ryancmSee all my reviews

This is Woody Allen's best film in years. Hard to believe some people didn't like it. Mr. Allen is in top form here and it would have been great seeing Allen play Allen, although Larry David is good. The real stars of the movie are Evan Rachel Wood and the great, wonderful, terrific Patricia Clarkson. She is one of our greatest living character actress's working today and hope to see her in many more films. She adds class and perfection to everything she does.

The story could have been quite discomforting with a young girl and man old enough to be her almost grandfather. But somehow it works as we are not witness to anything inappropriate, not even a kiss. Even though David plays an unsympathetic role (and nobody actually talks like that), he's still fun. The evolution of the Evan Rachel Wood character is wonderful.

There are a couple of neat twists at the end and it all ties together for a very happy ending. See this for Woody at his best.


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