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With Jim Sabatini

Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight
Colin Firth and Emma Stone

Rated: PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 25, 2014 Released by: Perdido Pictures

An indefatigable septuagenarian Woody Allen has another interesting, if familiar cinematic package for fans that doesn't nearly rise to the level of Blue Jasmine and Midnight In Paris but has an innocuous light charm about it.

The slight, sumptuously mounted 1920s-set Magic In The Moonlight stars Colin Firth and lovely Emma Stone with the former as British curmudgeonly seamless mystifying illusionist Stanley Crawford and the latter perhaps a mystical charlatan Sophie Baker.

Crawford has embroidered robes and a Fu Manchu mustache for his lavish act but offstage his supercilious nature doesn't really think much of his patrons. Allen's less discerning script spins off of a colleague (Simon McBurney) needing the cynical famous entertainer at France's Cote d'Azur to discredit a potentially fraudulent Sophie who could be using Stateside parvenus led by matriarch (Jacki Weaver of Silver Linings Playbook). Sounds not so far off from Allen's mostly forgotten The Curse of the Jade Scorpion which featured distaff talent like Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron.

Her son (Hamish Linklater) grows very fond of Sophie (enough to ask her hand in marriage) who's been retained to connect with her late husband and then Stanley when getting to know the feisty spry young lady after some amusing banter might have to readjust his overall outlook. Even with some easy, whimsically romantic touches Firth and Stone aren't that bad of a pair with the latter more than ebulliently holding her own. But, the set-up can only go so far in a slight enterprise as such with hardly much of a surprise or magic in this delightfully duped Moonlight.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Magic in the Moonlight  C      C+                  B-   C+ 

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