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 Black Friday, Entertainment

PHOTOS: Macy’s Parade through the years

AP970543650046_2

For 88 years the iconic Macy's Parade has been a Thanksgiving tradition.

in Entertainment

William Shatner needs your help to publish his book

shatner

The "Star Trek" star wants to publish a book explaining the mysteries of modern technology.

in Entertainment

‘Horrible Bosses 2′ reunites goofball trio for kidnapping comedy

horribleboss

After an unsuccessful attempt to murder their "Horrible Bosses" in the 2011 hit comedy, buddies Nick, Kurt and Dale reunite.

in Sports, Viral Videos

Dude Perfect: Seattle Seahawks edition

11-overlay4

Super Bowl QB Russell Wilson hits insane targets, draws a Seahawk, sings "Sweet Home Alabama" and more!

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

John Oliver takes on Turkey pardoning

13-overlay5

The silly tradition is lampooned by the "Last Week Tonight" host.