After the debacle of Scoop and Cassandra’s Dream, Woody Allen redeems himself with his fourth consecutive movie shot outside his beloved Manhattan. With a stellar cast, Vicky Cristina Barcelona erases the memory of Colin Farrell and Hugh Jackman. Unlike those posers, Javier Bardem tosses aside flipping coins and his captive bolt pistol from No Country for Old Men for a painters brush and an eye for beautiful American tourists (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) vacationing in Spain for the summer, trying to coax them into a menage a trois by seducing them with their artistic notions of spanish guitar, architecture and wine. But just when you think this trio is wrought with erotic lesbian tension Scarlett finds she can’t hold her liquor, even with the additional weight of her huge ass melons, and Javier and newly engaged Rebecca end up in the dark unwittingly shagging in the bushes.
Yet this episode is just the setup for the introduction to Javier’s ex-suicidal wife, Penelope Cruz, who reveals what a true tortured romantic artist really is through her genuine latin passion, her flights of fancy and raw emotion juxtaposed to those self absorbed Americans. Rounding off this ensemble, Rebecca’s husband (Chris Messina) takes time off from his high powered, social climbing, Wall St. job with the intention of getting married in Barcelona where we see what a dweeb he is compared to Javier who makes out like a bandit by screwing all three girls before he even arrives.
However, with the standard love triangle scenario, Woody shows a different angle of clashing cultures through a brief summer love affair (shot in Spain’s gorgeous light) and how New Yorkers may be too preoccupied with their own neurotic issues of stability and identity and are out of touch with the kind of unadulterated passion and love like the Spaniards. On a sour note, what boggles me is not the use of a narration but that it’s narrated by some dude who reminded me of Bill Scott’s George of the Jungle and Super Chicken and not Woody himself, along with the repetitive one song latin soundtrack from it’s opening to closing credits by Giulia y los Tellarini to help remind you where the movie is set called, “Barcelona”.