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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
2 wins & 1 nomination. 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

First of two Woody Allen films to feature a two word alliterated title. Moreover, both films actually featuring the same first letter in each title word, that being "W". The two films are "Whatever Works" (2009) and "Wonder Wheel" (2017), both made and first released about eight years apart. See more »

Goofs

When Boris and Melody discuss the female leads in Gone With The Wind, Boris says that Scarlett has green eyes. If you watch Gone With The Wind, you will see that Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) has blue eyes. 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

Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Red Garland
Courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Real Men of Genius
28 June 2009 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Such an odd experience ... watching an old Woody Allen for the first time. Well that's the best way I can describe this. The script was from the 70's and certainly, Mr. Allen made a few changes to make it fit the 21st century, but still we can't help but think it's 1977 all over again ... especially since Woody has been away from NYC for awhile.

Larry David is cast in the "Woody Allen" role and does his best to bring his Curb Your Enthusiasm delivery. The only problem, his character here, Boris Yellnikoff, is just a very bitter, abusive, negative force ... so even some of the best comedic moments are a bit tainted by the mean spiritedness.

Evan Rachel Wood has been a star in the making since "Thirteen" and really brings a new dimension not just to her career, but also the film. Her runaway southern belle is a flat out hoot. When her parents (Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley, Jr.) arrive, we gain some insight into Allen's thought process ... he thinks NYC is the be all and end all ... and can even enlighten those southern "crackers".

Mr. Allen has always been obsessed with three topics ... dying, sex and intellect, and all three are on prominent display here. He really has an innate ability to exaggerate life subtleties and slap us upside the head in his films. I believe his message is that the big picture of life is overwhelming and disheartening, but as individuals, we can each find happiness.


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