Coup de Chance” (“Stroke of Luck”)


Metacritic (5/10), Letterboxd (2.5/5), (5/10), (5/10)

If I had to come up with one word to describe writer-director Woody Allen’s latest film, it would have to be “inconsequential.” This flat, uninspired slog about the trophy wife (Lou de Laâge) of an overly possessive well-to-do Parisian businessman (Melvil Poupaud) who has an affair after a chance meeting with one of her old classmates (Niels Schneider) is close to a career low point for the famed auteur. The picture’s wooden characters routinely spout trite, at times laughable dialogue peppered with nonchalant references about privileged upscale living and obvious, shallow observations about art, poetry and culture. Then, of course, there are the tired discussions about the role that luck plays in our lives that have now been incorporated into the scripts in nearly all of Allen’s 50 films. Even the narrative feels like a retread of previous releases with elements that appear to have been culled from such offerings as “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989), “Match Point” (2005) and “Irrational Man” (2015), only rearranged in a lighter, less interesting configuration of those other finer works – and one with an uncharacteristic and eminently predictable ending at that. The picture’s French language script is perhaps the only distinguishing trait of this work, but that adds precious little to the finished product (except perhaps for the eye strain that viewers are likely to walk away with for having to read everything). Don’t get me wrong – Allen is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, but this release (like many of those in recent years) is not one of his better efforts. In fact, it’s been speculated (even by the director himself) that this could be his last picture, and it’s a shame if this is how he were to end his filmmaking career, going out with a whimper instead of a bang. But, if the gas tank is empty by this point, better to quit now than to continue producing mediocre, forgettable pictures that detract from an otherwise-great body of work.