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"Blue Jasmine": Woody Allen Turns a New Yorker Loose in S.F. 

Wednesday, Jul 31 2013

After London, Paris, and Rome, Woody Allen's travelogue period has brought him to San Francisco for the first time since 1969. Blue Jasmine features locations that are familiar to moviegoers (Pacific Heights, yawn) and others probably making their first and last cinematic appearances (48th and Rivera, yay!), though the picture is mostly set in the Mission, where emotionally fragile New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves in with her non-socialite sister Ginger after Jasmine's husband (Alec Baldwin) is arrested for fraud. There's no mistaking it for anything but a modern Woody Allen movie: lengthy medium shots of awkward dialogue by an under-directed cast, and both the comedy and drama are spotty. As such, opportunities for genuinely great performances in Allen's new films are scarce — Charlotte Rampling's turn in 1980's Stardust Memories will never be equaled — though Bobby Cannavale manages to find a sympathetic side to Ginger's Italian-stereotype boyfriend. (And Andrew Dice Clay? Not bad.) Still, Allen's love for San Francisco is obvious, and while locals may find unintentional laughs in the often tin-eared vernacular — clunky references to Marin, or a character mentioning how he "got off drugs" in a way former addicts never phrase it — at least there are no gay-panic jokes, and nobody calls it "Frisco." Not bad for a tourist.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

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