Rifkin’s Festival

Imagine that a community theater group decides to create a play in homage to Woody Allen (think Waiting for Guffman)  .  They hire a writer to create a script that vaguely resembles something that Allen would write.  There are questions about life and the meaning of it.  There are many references to Fellini in general and 8 1/2 in particular.  The lead character will be neurotic and will date or be interested in someone far too young for him.  The location will be exotic.

So because it is local theater you’re stuck with whoever shows up.  Sure, the elderly actor that showed up to play pseudo-Allen would never in real life be married to the beauty that plays his wife but we can suspend our disbelief (as we would in many of Allen’s films).  The dialog is poor and disconnected and the leads deliver the trademark Allen one-liners so slowly and awkwardly that the few good lines are hardly noticed.  We meander from one scene to the next and the actors trudge through the poor script.  But the font on the marquee is the same one that appears at the beginning of Allen’s films and the music is all-too-familiar so despite the fact it is community theater there is a vague familiarity to the production.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Rifkin’s Festival.

I am in the minority in that I have actually enjoyed many of Allen’s late-stage movies (Wonder Wheel, Irrational Man, Cafe Society, etc).  And then A Rainy Day in New York came out… oh what a dreadful film.  While that film had numerous things to hate about that film but at least there was something to talk about.  This film… yikes.  First, Wallace Shawn is horribly miscast.  He is far too old and delivers his lines far too slowly.   Gina Gershon isn’t much better and the two of them have zero chemistry.  It really feels like they are punching the clock and just going through the workday.  Then again, they have almost nothing to work with.  The dialog is terrible and at times it just feels like we are a fly on the wall of day-to-day life.  I could go on and on… this really was a tragedy.

In a sense the movie mirrored the end of Allen’s career.  Here we were having to hear an old man yammer on and on about old movies and the way things used to be.  If this were your uncle at a family gathering you’d just shake your head and look the other way.   Allen is probably my favorite director and he has brought me a lot of joy.  I can’t be too upset about this because at least he didn’t go the Tarantino route and stop making films at a certain age.  I am grateful for what I got out of him and I am sad that this was his last film.  But if I am being honest… this movie was really, really, really bad.

IHATEBadMovies.com reviews Rifkin's Festival
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Movie title: Rifkin's Festival

Movie description: The story of a married American couple who go to the San Sebastian Film Festival. They get caught up in the magic of the festival, the beauty and charm of Spain and the fantasy of movies. She has an affair with a brilliant French movie director, and he falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who lives there.

Date published: 2021-04-20

Director(s): Woody Allen

Actor(s): Wallace Shawn, Gina Gershon, Louis Garrel, Elena Anaya, Enrique Arce, Steve Guttenberg, Christoph Waltz, Sergi López, Douglas McGrath, Damian Chapa, Georgina Amorós, Richard Kind, Nathalie Poza, Ben Temple, Andrea Trepat, Luz Cipriota, Yan Tual, Bobby Slayton, Manu Fullola, Elena Sanz, Karina Kolokolchykova, Ken Appledorn, Natalia Dicenta, Godeliv Van den Brandt, Nick Devlin, Carmen Salta, Stephanie Figueira, Itziar Castro, Yuri D. Brown, Cameron Hunter, Rose Harlean, Iñigo Etxebeste, Tammy Blanchard

Genre: Romance, Comedy

My Review

Imagine that a community theater group decides to create a play in homage to Woody Allen (think Waiting for Guffman)  .  They hire a writer to create a script that vaguely resembles something that Allen would write.  There are questions about life and the meaning of it.  There are many references to Fellini in general and 8 1/2 in particular.  The lead character will be neurotic and will date or be interested in someone far too young for him.  The location will be exotic.

So because it is local theater you’re stuck with whoever shows up.  Sure, the elderly actor that showed up to play pseudo-Allen would never in real life be married to the beauty that plays his wife but we can suspend our disbelief (as we would in many of Allen’s films).  The dialog is poor and disconnected and the leads deliver the trademark Allen one-liners so slowly and awkwardly that the few good lines are hardly noticed.  We meander from one scene to the next and the actors trudge through the poor script.  But the font on the marquee is the same one that appears at the beginning of Allen’s films and the music is all-too-familiar so despite the fact it is community theater there is a vague familiarity to the production.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Rifkin’s Festival.

I am in the minority in that I have actually enjoyed many of Allen’s late-stage movies (Wonder Wheel, Irrational Man, Cafe Society, etc).  And then A Rainy Day in New York came out… oh what a dreadful film.  While that film had numerous things to hate about that film but at least there was something to talk about.  This film… yikes.  First, Wallace Shawn is horribly miscast.  He is far too old and delivers his lines far too slowly.   Gina Gershon isn’t much better and the two of them have zero chemistry.  It really feels like they are punching the clock and just going through the workday.  Then again, they have almost nothing to work with.  The dialog is terrible and at times it just feels like we are a fly on the wall of day-to-day life.  I could go on and on… this really was a tragedy.

In a sense the movie mirrored the end of Allen’s career.  Here we were having to hear an old man yammer on and on about old movies and the way things used to be.  If this were your uncle at a family gathering you’d just shake your head and look the other way.   Allen is probably my favorite director and he has brought me a lot of joy.  I can’t be too upset about this because at least he didn’t go the Tarantino route and stop making films at a certain age.  I am grateful for what I got out of him and I am sad that this was his last film.  But if I am being honest… this movie was really, really, really bad.

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