Vicky Cristina Barcelona

May 29, 2010 - Woody Allen wrote and directed this 2008 comedy and cast his latest muse, Scarlett Johansson, in one of the starring roles. The top-notch cast also includes Rebecca Hall (who also starred with Johansson in The Prestige), Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Patricia Clarkson.

Hall and Johansson play Vicky and Cristina, two young Americans looking forward to a summer in Barcelona. Vicky is practical and ready to marry her equally practical Wall Street boyfriend. Cristina is a more tortured soul who's not sure what she wants. But, as the film's narrator explains, she knows what she doesn't want, which is what Vicky has.

Soon, they meet Juan Antonio (Bardem), a painter who propositions both Vicky and Cristina even though he still feels passion for his ex-wife, Maria Elena (Cruz). When she enters the picture, sparks and gunshots fly.

Overall review: *** The film has a nice little vibe going. Jaunty Spanish music and narrative interludes move the action from scene to scene. I'm not a big fan of Scarlett Johansson, but she's good here, and Penélope Cruz won an Oscar for her performance in a supporting role. The ending is rather abrupt, but I can't complain because it fits in so well with the movie's slice-of-life format. Allen isn't one for sequels, but I wouldn't mind seeing one titled "Vicky Cristina New York."