Movie Review: Wonder Wheel (2017)

Seaside like Chekhov, housebound like O’Neill and carousel adjacent like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Woody Allen stages a most superficial and unsatisfying drama in a picture perfect 1950s Coney Island in Wonder Wheel (D+), a film that spins in the same rote roulette of themes the writer/director has plumbed for the past few decades. Lazy plot and characters do Allen’s actors no favors in a story that involves infidelity and underworld crime without the slightest of high stakes. Kate Winslet is largely wasted as the put-upon protagonist, and Justin Timberlake and Juno Temple get precious little to work with either. Jim Belushi is simply subpar, regardless of the stock character he embodies. There’s a soliloquy toward the end that almost rescues the affair, but most of the time viewers are aboard simply for Allen’s humdrum amusement. His imitation of life as we know it comes across here as rusty and mechanical.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2017

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