News

REVIEW: There’s little ‘Magic’ in this ‘Moonlight’

REVIEW: There’s little ‘Magic’ in this ‘Moonlight’

Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in Woody Allen's "Magic in the Moonlight." Photo: Associated Press/Sony Pictures Classics, Jack English

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance | Run Time: 97 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Woody Allen | Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater

By: George Wolf of Maddwolf.com

I don’t know how productive you’ve been this week, but Woody Allen finished three more screenplays before lunchtime on Tuesday.

The man just keeps cranking them out, which is good, because the sooner there’s another charmer like Midnight in Paris, the sooner we can just forgive the dud that is Magic in the Moonlight.

Allen continues the world traveling we’ve seen in his recent scripts, setting the latest in France near the end of the roaring twenties.

Master illusionist Stanley (Colin Firth) has agreed to help his old friend and fellow magician Howard (Simon McBurney) in the quest to expose a scam artist. A young cutie named Sophie (Emma Stone) has been passing herself off as a clairvoyant, completely captivating a rich American family living on the French Riviera.

It seems Howard has observed Sophie’s “gift” in action, and hasn’t been able to pick up on the tricks she’s employing, but Stanley, full of smug conceit, is confident he’ll expose her in no time.

The rest goes pretty much as you’d expect, which would be fine if the film delivered even a hint of what the title promises. There’s no magic here, regardless of how hard Stone and Firth try to muster it.

It’s more contrived than charming, more forced than fun. Character development is kept to the bare minimum, apparently to leave more room for banter that snaps loud and says very little.

Throughout his storied career, Allen has often played with different genres and styles of filmmaking, and even when the results fall short, the ambition is commendable. Magic in the Moonlight is his attempt to marry the wit of Noel Coward with the inspiration of George Bernard Shaw.

OK, worthy idea, but the result feels like he lost interest half way though.

So did I.

Verdict-2-0-Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on Maddwolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, the character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, left, and the character Jake, voiced by Sam Worthington are shown in a scene from, "Avatar." The film was nominated Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 for an Oscar for best picture. The 82nd Academy Awards will be presented on March 7.

A look back on some of Hollywood's most notable headlines.

in Entertainment

If regular people picked the Oscars, ‘American Sniper’ would win

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Kyle Gallner, left, and Bradley Cooper appear in a scene from "American Sniper."

If ordinary Americans voted for the Academy Awards, the portrait of a sharpshooter in the Iraq war, would be the best picture winner.

in Music

Pharrell heading to ‘The Simpsons’

pharrell

The "Happy" hitmaker and the famous Vivienne Westwood hat he wore to the Grammys are heading to Springfield.

in Viral Videos

Elders play Grand Theft Auto V

20-overlay2

They have no problem shooting people, but they refuse to run a red light!