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Vicky Cristina Barcelona DVD review – another example of cut, copy and paste

Submitted by on June 15, 2009 – 1:56 am2 Comments

vicky_cristina_barcelona_movie_posterI feel cheated! I have just sat through the highly acclaimed Vicky Cristina Barcelona and watched how Javier Bardem flirted successfully with Rebecca Hall, Penelope Cruz and Scarlet Johansson. Since the cover of the implies a bit of friendly multi-person-fun, you may be asking why I claim to have been cheated! Read on for the multitude of reasons.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is written and directed by Woody Allen and if you considered Cassandra’s Dream to be a nod to the East End of London, then Vicky Cristina Barcelona is his postcard from the Catalan city!


Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamoured with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.


If you have ever watched Shirley Valentine, then you will find great similarities in this tale. Almost half of the film follows in direct footsteps of the classic British film (starring Pauline Collins). Sadly though, Vicky Cristina Barcelona isn’t that amusing.

Despite having a fast paced narrative running throughout which would imply a farce, it is quite a sensible tale. Sensible or not, the film acts as a promotional campaign for polygamy as everyone is all up for free most of the time. Interestingly though, if ever you thought it was a good idea to have a polygamous relationship then I urge you to watch and learn that with more ingredients become more complications (i.e. add Penelope Cruz to the mix and watch it all go to hell)!

This ménage à troi is better shown by older and more imaginative films such as Gazon Maudit. Naturally though, the use of attractive people in Woody Allen’s film is more appealing to the masses. I’m sure that the film would appeal to those who are in an unexciting relationship who like the fantasy of something more thrilling (watch Shirley Valentine instead), or those who think that a relationship made of only just two is missing a certain element (similarly see Gazon Maudit). There is absolutely nothing new in this.vicky-christina-barcelonaOf course, you have to accept certain performances from the piece. Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) comes across as charming without being lecherous, Scarlett Johansson does what she does best (pout; little else) and Rebecca Hall is entirely forgotten in the promotional campaigns (but manages to hold her own throughout the film). The one person though who saves this photocopy of a film is that of Penelope Cruz. It takes some time before she makes her entrance but she livens up the proceedings to a point of being fun. If left to the pouting of Johansson and ice-queen-like persona of Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona would be an instructional video for men to chat up women!

I’ll admit that Vicky Cristina Barcelona ambles along nicely, but with the positive I have read, I had expected so much more. Unfortunately it turned out to be a great let down; certainly in terms of originality (of which there is none). This is ultimately a shame as Bardem has shown another string to his bow. Anyone who thought that he could only play the evil-strange-hair-cut man will be in for a big surprise.


Woody Allen has managed to make a film that has been made before (and not as good). Taking elements from better films and throwing away the natural comedy, you are left with a very glamorous promotional campaign for polygamy.

It is an adequate example of cinema, but far from the levels of “genius” as some have called it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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