Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

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CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

“Wonder Wheel” has all the hallmarks of Woody’s style over six decades in cinema… the 1950’s setting, the Tin Pan Alley jazz score, the references to theater and analysis, but in this film nothing fits. It has the aura of a man trying to keep up his one picture a year pace, but is at a loss for a real idea. Justin Timberlake is a budding playwright working as a lifeguard on Coney Island in Brooklyn. He serves as the film’s narrator, and occasionally talks directly to the camera. Kate Winslet is a former actress, who now works as a waitress at a clam dive on Coney Island. She’s married to a merry-go-round carny named Humpty (Jim Belushi), who is barely scraping amid the artificial clatter and clanging of the increasingly seedy tourist trap during the 1950’s era.

Timberlake and Winslet’s characters have an affair, until Timberlake falls for Humpty’s daughter (Juno Temple), who’s the wife of a mobster on the lam. Temple is in her usual squeaky-voiced femme fatale persona, and arrives penniless to seek shelter with her estranged dad. Ideas are introduced and then discarded. Subplots are introduced and then go absolutely nowhere. Winslet also has a son from her first marriage who is a bit of a pyromaniac. Where does that lead? Nowhere, except the kid shows up starting fires every now and then as a kind of sick comic relief.

”Wonder Wheel” continued its nationwide release in Chicago on December 8th. See local listings for theaters and showtimes. Featuring Kate Winslet, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi, Justin Timberlake, Max Casella and Jack Gore. Written and directed by Woody Allen. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Wonder Wheel”

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Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake in ‘Wonder Wheel’
Photo credit: Amazon Studios

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Wonder Wheel”

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