SRP $28.95 1.85:1(16:9)    
 
SRP $39.95 1.85:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 SONY
 

Any fan of Larry David and his great comedy series, "CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM," had to be excited to see him star in a Woody Allen film, and although "WHATEVER WORKS" isn't the side-splitting kind of comedy as found in David's HBO series, it does have some great moments. Allen's latest comedy feels something like his older comedies, perhaps because the script was written over a decade ago.  David plays Boris Yellnikoff, a bright guy whose opinions and lack of tact cause most people to run from him. He doesn't want to be a recluse, but his lack of empathy makes this a self-imposed situation. However, when a pretty runaway shows up begging for food outside his apartment, his decent actions begin to turn his life around for the better.  Allen is mature enough to be able to point out the futility of an elitist mindset, but his humor still thrives on the the follies of "southern" mentality and the assumed lack of intellect within it.  While the character of Melodie isn't two-dimensional, ultimately, she acts in a way that serves Allen's fantasies, but feels completely at odds with reality.

There are plenty of scenes within "WHATEVER WORKS" that don't work all that well, due to credibility problems. However, what does work, works well!  When Allen's dialogue is good, it shines and there are some brilliant lines within the script. The acting is great, the pacing deliberate and breezy. "WHATEVER WORKS" will certainly please any Allen fans, and offers more to like for those viewers new to his work, which may cause them to seek out his earlier, funnier films.

SONY has provided a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, coming close enough to the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio to satisfy.  The dvd offers the same ratio with 16:9 enhancement.  Grain can be problematic at times, and it's always present to some degree in the high-def transfer. The dvd exhibits slightly less grain, but notably less detail as well. For those who appreciate the "film" like atmosphere presented by grain in a transfer, this blu-ray won't disappoint! It has a gritty feel to it, and this reviewer loved it. The dvd, while perhaps more accessible to the masses due to its toned down look, suffers in comparison, due to inferior depth. The blu-ray sports incredible detail in virtually every scene. It's a wonderful looking blu-ray transfer! It's an ok looking dvd transfer.

SONY offers a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. However, this is one instance wherein the lossy presentation can't do anything to enhance the film. Allen has never shown any concern for lively sound mixes, even while being a jazz lover, and even music isn't fully realized within all speakers. This is a front center channel focused mix, with some minor separation effects delegated towards the front soundstage. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. The Dolby Digital mix of the dvd is completely on par in quality with the lossy mix. There's no distinct advantage over one of the other.