Woody Allen’s last film, Magic in the Moonlight (my review), starred 54-year-old Colin Firth as an obnoxious illusionist who falls for a psychic played by 26-year-old Emma Stone. Now Allen’s doe-eyed muse is back in Irrational Man, starring opposite Joaquin Phoenix as a plucky student to his radical professor (“That should put some Viagra into the Philosophy Department,” says a colleague, of his hiring). Gee, I wonder what will happen!
That said, Irrational Man has a few things going for it. Firstly it’s set in the US, and the Woodman’s dialogue tends to come off less stilted when he’s not writing it for people he didn’t grow up around. It also stars Phoenix, who I could just about watch paint a house, and it seems to be hiding some kind of fantastical narrative device, which I’ve always thought were Woody Allen’s forte (see: Midnight in Paris, the bit in New York Stories where his mom is trapped in the sky, his old stand-up routine about Hemingway).
Hard to say if all that will be enough to overcome the staleness of yet another hyperverbose, emotionally-stunted Allen protagonist with boner issues, but at the very least, I’m expecting some turgid discussions about categorical imperatives.
Opens July 25th.