Woody Allen's bad movies often seem to be taking place in some kind of upper-class fantasy world, which may be the reason I find this upfront fantasy (2011) to be his funniest, most agreeable comedy in years. (The last one this good was Bullets Over Broadway
in 1994.) A Hollywood screenwriter (Owen Wilson, the perfect whiny Allen surrogate) vacations in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams), who's getting hit on by an arrogant, know-it-all professor (Michael Sheen). With a setup like this, the movie threatens to become yet another variation on Manhattan
, but then the screenwriter, moping around the city after dark, is picked up by a vintage Peugot that spirits him back to the storied Paris of the 1920s. Night after night he returns to the Jazz Age, rubbing elbows with all his heroes (Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Luis Buñuel), yet Allen's deep regard for these cultural icons doesn't inhibit him from giving them all a good ribbing. With Kathy Bates, Marion Cottilard, Adrien Brody, and Gad Elmaleh.