Like many Woody Allen films, Cafe Society is a fizzy glass of champagne—amusing and delightful, it goes down easy but leaves you hungry for more. There’s nothing new here in the plot: A young Jewish 20-something from Brooklyn, Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), comes to Hollywood in the 1930s looking for a career. In what, he’s not sure, but he gets his start as an errand boy for his uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a Hollywood hotshot, and quickly falls for Phil’s secretary, the lovely Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). Bittersweet, complicated romantic comedy ensues.

Although the story might be a little tired, the visuals are not. Allen is known for being nostalgic about days gone by, and here it pays off. We get to see 1930s Hollywood bathed in a golden glow, with impossibly blue pools, beautiful Spanish Colonial revival architecture and impeccably chosen costumes. It’s a visual treat, especially since it’s also accompanied by romantic songs of the era.

Overall, Cafe Society is well cast. No Woody Allen film would be complete without a neurotic hero, and Jesse Eisenberg plays the role gamely, if a little on the heavy-handed side. Stewart is charming as the grounded and beautiful Vonnie.

Should You See It? If you’re a fan of Woody Allen, you’ll enjoy this one.
Viewed at Chase Park Plaza Cinemas