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Writer-director Woody Allen's seriocomic look at romance follows a Depression-era Bronx lad (Jesse Eisenberg) to Los Angeles, where he gets a job with his uncle (Steve Carell), a powerful Hollywood agent. But when his relationship with the agent's lissome secretary (Kristen Stewart) leads to disillusionment, he returns to New York to manage a new nightclub owned by his gangster brother (Corey Stoll). There a whirl of glamorous nightlife culminates in his marriage to a shimmering blond heiress (Blake Lively). The characters in this nostalgic tale are all one-dimensional archetypes. Sincerity, moreover, gives way to Allen's one-liners, and no one becomes any wiser for their experiences. Lost amid the trademark humor is any sustained serious engagement with topics like marital fidelity.

Watch out for: Bloodless gun violence, mature themes, including adultery and prostitution, a drug reference, several uses of profanity, at least one crude term.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016