You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger reveals the more foolish varieties of love

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      Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, and Gemma Jones. Rated PG. Opens Friday, October 1, at the Cinemark Tinseltown and the Fifth Avenue Cinemas

      Woody Allen’s latest finds him back in London, England, although You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger follows the here’s-what-happened, narrator-connected pattern of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, without that Spain-set film’s sunny physicality.

      Watch the trailer for You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.

      Here, grey old England is home to assorted Brits and foreigners, all caught up in the more foolish varieties of love. What unites them is dissatisfaction with what they’ve got. Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) has just dumped wife Helena (cast standout Gemma Jones) after 40 years so he can pursue the single life—and blow his money. Their daughter (Naomi Watts), increasingly drawn to her charming art-gallery boss (Antonio Banderas), feels trapped in her marriage to an American writer (Josh Brolin) whose flailing career leaves him vulnerable to the hottie (Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto) whose window faces his. She plays Luigi Boccherini on guitar and walks around in her underwear, so, sure, we get the distraction. It’s less clear, though, even in this flippantly observed, hopscotching tale, what she sees in this guy with no job and a bad haircut.

      Alfie’s affair with an “actress” (Hot Fuzz’s Lucy Punch) is also sadly one-sided, in that we rarely glimpse what this cockney trollop is made of aside from spandex and gum-chewing cynicism.

      The veteran director is more convincing when he goes outrageous, as when Helena becomes increasingly involved with a fortune-telling charlatan (Pauline Collins), leading her to a seller of occult books (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) who looks remarkably like Deputy Dawg. A subplot involving the writer with a naive rival (Ewen Bremner) is also more interesting than the foreground conflicts and leads to a good punch line for a relatively joke-free item that nonetheless has its fair share of entertaining moments.