You're going to be seeing a lot of Colin Firth this year. So far, he's been in Devil's Knot and The Railway Man, with Kingsman: The Secret Service and Paddington closing out his year. Smack dab in the middle, during the heat of the summer movie season, is Magic In The Moonlight, a film that hopes to serve as a crossroads between high art prestige and summer entertainment. With Emma Stone as his co-star and Woody Allen serving as the film's writer/director, this isn't that far off of an aspiration.
Yahoo revealed the trailer, which sees Firth playing a sham magician who's dead set on debunking a woman who is an alleged psychic medium. Naturally, this being a Woody Allen movie and all, the two will spar, scrap, and fall in love to a jazz age soundtrack and some witty repartee. Even as a fledgling Woody Allen fan, I can tell that this is a bit of a weak trailer for one of his films. Maybe it's because this trailer sells more of a romantic film with a comedic/mystical vibe as an after effect, but it just lacks that exciting and snappy dialogue that Allen is famous for.
On the positive side, Colin Firth is a great English counterpart for Woody to channel his stereotypically neurotic personality through and Emma Stone looks ready for the big leagues, as she holds her own quite well in what is put in front of us. While the age difference between the two of them is a little... well, Woody Allen-esque, this looks like a relationship that has the potential to work in practice better than in theory. In the interest of fair evaluation, I'm going to compare this trailer to that of Mr. Allen's 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay, Midnight In Paris
Upon further evaluation, even the trailer to Midnight In Paris doesn't pop as much as the actual finished product does. 1920's Paris is relegated to simple flashes, with the contemporary viewpoint front and remaining center for the main thrust of the pitch. So with that baseline established, this could still be a very engaging film that remains hidden behind studio marketing. It wouldn't be the first movie to be handled in such a manner, and it certainly won't be the last. Still, if you're going to bank your film on two charismatic leads, Colin Firth and Emma Stone are two pretty solid leads to lay your bets on.
Magic In The Moonlight weaves its spell on July 25th, 2014; a day that will hopefully see Colin Firth taking a well-earned rest.