Whatever works és un dels bons films de Woody Allen. Ho és gràcies al protagonista, Boris Yelnikoff, un fìsic quàntic, finalista per al premi Nobel de física, que ara passa els dies ensenyant nens a jugar a escacs. I que pensa ser més llest que la resta d’humans. I ho és. Les seves tirallongues misantròpiques són d’antologia.
En moments de tristesa és el millor remei per superar qualsevol crisi.
Una crítica de Roger Ebert ens il·lustra sobre els petits detalls de la història:
«Midway in his remarkable opening monologue, David starts speaking directly to the camera. His friends think he’s crazy. He asks them if they can’t see the people out there — us. (…) Boris gets up from the table and walks down the sidewalk, continuing to hector the camera about his own brilliance and the general stupidity that confronts him. It is too great a burden for him to exist in a world of such morons and cretins. He hates everyone and everything — in a theoretical way, as befits a physicist. Later that night, he is implored by a homeless waif to give her something to eat, tells her to be about her business, and then relents and invites her in.»
Una altra crítica de Jason Solomons a The Guardian ens ajuda a entendre per què el senyor Allen fent cinema a Europa combina films de sèrie B. Però quan torna a New York, se sent més inspirat:
«Whatever Works finds him working with Larry David, a writer and comedian who, having created the sitcom Seinfeld, can be said to have expanded on Allen’s neurotic sense of the absurd in New York relationships. The coming together of Woody and Larry represents a heavyweight clash of Jewish humour, a sort of secular High Holy Day. They shouldn’t sell popcorn in the foyer for this one, because we should all celebrating with a fast.
There’s a serious point here. While Allen’s wanderings in the wilderness of Europe have been interesting to follow, it seems to me that those movies have seen him lose his Jewishness, the inherent comic tension that powered his best work. With Larry David as his bitter mouthpiece – the most virulently dislikable character in Allen’s work since Harry Block in Deconstructing Harry – the inner Jew is restored to the film’s fabric and the laughs and one-liners flow anew.»
L’origen de tot plegat, d’aquesta actitud cínica sobre la vida, pessimisme suportable, deu ser el monòleg que obre Annie Hall