Vicky Cristina Barcelona or what I like to call Kristy McNichol Barcelona, is a very entertaining movie once Penélope Cruz arrives about halfway through. She plays the madwoman psycho ex-wife of Javier Bardem, the central lothario of a foursome. Cruz is the only actor who really comes to life. Every other actor is sort of trapped in a semi-neurotic, semi-travelogue escapade of uncertain lust and love. But truly, the lust part isn’t all that steamy and the love part isn’t at all believable. It’s just a bunch of people barely connecting. I can understand it. Maybe the pain of watching this movie is caused by the relentless underpinning of the impossibility of true romantic love. A couple of marriages do survive by the end of the movie, but they are marriages of inertia, one old, one new. Certainly not romantic.
The movie is worth seeing for the setting, which is certainly gorgeous, and for Penélope Cruz. But don’t be surprised if you can trace bits of every other W.Allen film ever made in this one. Which is too bad. You want him to take a leap. Why keep rearranging the same old characters, the same old stretched fictions? One wishes he would slow down and make fewer, but better movies.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona