Published Aug 14, 2008Matchpoint revitalized Woody Allens mainstream and critical appeal in large part because the archetypical New York neurotic eschewed his beloved Broadway delis and Central Park strolls for elegant London landmarks.
Allen benefits again from breathtaking Barcelona vistas, bistros and galleries, but its his fine-looking female leads that provide the classic beauty here.
Scarlett Johansson is Christina, a passionate, would-be artist with all the physical attributes of the real-life Johansson. When she meets Javier Bardeems soft-voiced, sensual painter, shes enthused even if friend Vicky is mortified by his introductory offer of a threesome. Christina digs how his ex-wife stabbed him in a fit of passion and accepts.
Allens airy tale of the idle rich heats up when Bardeems hyper-emotional ex-wife Penelope Cruz enters the picture. She steals every scene with hysterical passion and may be the only woman in film who could outshine Johanssons beauty. By the time the two sirens suck face in a red-lit darkroom (its actually done quite tastefully), its almost too much to bear.
Meanwhile, Vicky struggles to love her boring, yuppie fiancé after Bardeem manages to get her into the sack as well. Allens point seems to be that real passion has to be dangerous, and that risk is necessary.
Some might criticize Allens sexiest film as being a typical, perhaps even demeaning, male fantasy but its a wise look at the nature of romantic longing from one of the masters with many great jokes along the way. (Alliance)