Café Society

3.5 Stars

Late-career Woody Allen films are routinely heavier on the “miss” part of “hit-or-miss.” For every Blue Jasmine, there’s a Magic in the Moonlight or Irrational Man – and those are just from his last three films. Fortunately, Café Society is one of Allen’s more palpable latter-day films. The film follows Bobby Dorrman (Jesse Eisenberg), who leaves his home in New York for Hollywood to try and establish himself, with the help of his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a power player in town. Bobby strikes up a relationship with Phil’s secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), that quickly turns romantic – even though Vonnie is also having an affair with Phil. There are plenty of little twists and bumps in the relationships on display in the film, and they largely feel familiar to a lot of Allen’s previous work. What makes this work, though, is something that exists outside of Allen: the established rapport between Eisenberg and Stewart, who are now on their third film as romantic partners. Considering each actor’s own idiosyncrasies, the ways they manage to balance each other out is commendable. It’s especially good for Stewart, who continues to show just how much the Twilight films wasted her talents.

Café Society • Rating: PG-13 (for some violence, a drug reference, suggestive material and smoking) • Runtime: 85 minutes • Genres: Comedy, Drama • Cast: Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, Ben Stott • Director: Woody Allen • Writer: Woody Allen • Distributor: Lionsgate/Amazon
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