Vicky Cristina Barcelona | Chicago Reader

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

After three features set in the UK (Match Point, Scoop, and Cassandra's Dream), Woody Allen moves on to the continent for this hackneyed melodrama about two American women, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), falling for an aggressive Latin lover (Javier Bardem) in Barcelona. Watching Allen fart out a story when he has no characters is always painful, as people are defined through clumsy expository dialogue and ranked according to their cultural accomplishments. But the script here is lazy even by his standards, falling back on ethnic stereotypes (Bardem and Penelope Cruz as tempestuous lovers) and a bookish omniscient narrator (Christopher Evan Welch) whose drily amused summations of the characters sound like Allen when he's trying to write a funny New Yorker piece. With Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, and Chris Messina (Ira and Abby). PG-13, 97 min.

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