Opens October 13, 2009 on DVD
Written By: Jake Cashill
Starring: Emily Parker; Kerry Aissa; Aidan Sullivan; Chris
Kies; Tempany Deckert; and Logan Kulick
Reviewed for New York Cool by Harvey Karten
Oral Fixation is watchable
enough, but it’s not much more than a soap opera
which is deservedly being released on DVD. It is a poor
man’s Fatal Attraction with a lame script
featuring a lead male actor who looks like he came out
of a daytime tv casting office.
Although the film is filled with masochism,
thwarted love, spousal suspicions of infidelity, murder,
psychosis, mayhem, wrongful convictions and identity crisis,
the film may actually evoke unintended laughter at Emily
Parker's off-the-wall acting as she plays Rachel Marks,
a woman who is unmarried and childless. Things are so
bad for Rachel that she passionately looks forward to
appointments with her dentist, Paul McNeil (Kerry Aissa).
She is enamored of her dentist, even though he is happily
married to an assistant district attorney, Molly (Aidan
Sullivan). Given the clever ways that Rachel sets up the
dentist in his office, determined to be drilled in ways
that do not require expensive machinery, we doubt wife
Molly is convinced when her husband says “It’s
not what you think.” But that quote does serve as
metaphor for the film’s clichés.
This picture could find some life in
the midnight cult circuit, particularly for fans who love
to see a tooth gouged out slowly with a straight razor,
a knife plunged into the heart of a man determined to
rid the planet of a psycho, a knife that had already masochistically
seen the blood of the perpetrator’s foot.
Rated R. 90 minutes. © 2009 by
Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online
Evan Rachel Wood with Director
Reviewed by Frank J. Avella
I am a huge fan of Woody Allen. I always
will be. He is a filmmaker that speaks to me in ways that
are profound—whether it be Mickey’s search
for meaning in the world by constantly and hilariously
switching religions (Hannah and Her Sisters)
or Alvy Singer’s quest to stay in New York City
at all costs (Annie Hall) or Isaac’s grandiose
writing revisions (Manhattan) or Harry Block
trying to exorcise his literary demons (Deconstructing
Harry). Come to think of it, all these roles were
also played by Woody.
Recently, with his journeying to Europe,
Woody has experienced a renaissance of sorts, making exciting
new films like Match Point, Cassandra’s
Dream and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. None
of these films feature Allen in them.
This past year, Sony Pictures Classics
released Whatever Works. The screenplay was written
decades ago and recently updated by Woody. It concerns
a crotchety, persnickety, misanthropic old codger named
Boris who—through a situation ONLY Woody Allen could
write-- finds himself falling for a naïve young Southern
Perhaps Woody assessed that he is a
bit too old to play out a romantic comedy. His choice
of Larry David to fill his shoes is at first, disconcerting,
but actually proves to ultimately be a nice fit.
There is nothing new here. But why do
we keep looking for new? Is it funny? On occasion, yes.
Is it well acted. Definitely. (Woody’s casting is
still impeccable). Is it thought-provoking. Mildly. Is
it The Curse of the Jade Scorpion? Thankfully,
As has been the case since his Diane
Keaton years, Allen is a pro at eliciting terrific performances
from his female actors. This is no exception. Evan Rachel
Wood is thoroughly engaging as Melody, the seemingly stupid
vagrant who lands on Boris’ doorstep. Watching her
emulate Boris and then blossom into her own is a joy.
And Patricia Clarkson nearly steals the film as Melody’s
mother, Marietta. Even when Larry David annoys (and he
does) and the Allen self-appropriation piles on (only
Fred Astaire film’s seem to calm Boris), Whatever
Works stays grounded because of these two actresses.
And even Allen’s revisited-ad-nauseum
theme of taking life as it happens seems to have a more
accepting feel to it.
For Allen fans, Whatever Works
is a must-see. For others, you may just find yourself
smiling for 90 minutes.
The AVC encoded visual image (1.78:1
aspect ratio) is exceptionally sharp and the NYC locales
seem to pop off the screen. Like many Allen films, this
is a Valentine to the city and the Blu-Ray transfer shows
Manhattan off beautifully.
The 5.1 DTS-MA audio event is simple
Only extra is the theatrical trailer.
When is Woody going to start sharing more with is eager