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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Woody Allen has made a romantic comedy where an older gentleman, stuck in a rut, has his burden lifted by the physical interests of a younger woman. The names on the poster change, but Allen continues to explore familiar territories by the looks of Irrational Man, which just dropped its first trailer.
Irrational Man, teased by People, continues Woody Allen’s current "Emma Stone era," reuniting the writer-director with the muse that inspired 2014’s Magic in the Moonlight. This time out, Stone appears to play a college student at a posh institute of higher education – Allen filmed in Rhode Island, according to reports – who enters into a relationship with a philosophy professor suffering with his own existential crisis. The main reason I’m intrigued by Allen’s take on his beloved May-December romance is because he recruited Joaquin Phoenix opposite Stone. Then again, Allen dropped Colin Firth into Moonlight, and that didn’t help one bit.
At least Irrational Man has a contemporary feel. Woody Allen might have hit a home run when he turned back the clocks for Owen Wilson’s Midnight in Paris. But I prefer when the director is commenting on the trials and tribulations of our modern society, as when he placed his microscope over Cate Blanchett and uncorked the magnificent Blue Jasmine.
Then again, no matter the period, there’s just no overlooking the fact that Allen is an uneven filmmaker who’s as capable of delivering a bomb as he is a masterpiece… and there’s no predicting what will come down the pipe from movie to movie. Admittedly, at 79, the prolific storyteller amazes simply by maintaining his output. He and Clint Eastwood – who had his biggest hit earlier this year with American Sniper -- appear to be locked in some competition to see who can crank out the most films before the Grim Reaper comes a’calling.
The IMDB page for Irrational Man has it down for a July 17 release date, though I imagine that might be limited release, with a platform spread as the movie performs (or dries up and blows away). IMDB also lists the movie’s genre as "mystery," which is a mystery. Not that Woody Allen hasn’t dabbled in that sort of thing before. But this trailer makes Irrational Man look like Phoenix is in a mid-life crisis, and Stone pulls him out of it. Is there something else that we are missing? Now I’m intrigued.