Although Woody Allen rarely achieves the level we feel he’s capable of, even on cruise control he has a knack for throwing wonderful actors into rich, if contrived, situations. You get the sense that every great actor in the world wants to work with him, or to have worked with him. It’s on everybody’s bucket list. And as they line up to do so, some great casting combos get forged. Set in London, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger doesn’t have anything to match the fireworks generated by Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. But it’s fun to watch Woody throw such a talented sextet into a game of romantic snakes and ladders: Gemma Jones is in the thrall of a psychic as her Viagra-wired husband (Anthony Hopkins) falls for a trashy young golddigger (Lucy Punch), while Naomi Watts supports a failed novelist (Josh Brolin) who steps out on her with a comely guitarist (Slumdog Millionare’s Freida Pinto).
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger premieres at TIFF Sept. 12 with an additional screening Sept. 19