Most reviewers thought Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona was a fabulous return to form. The film even won the director a belated Oscar. I found it hard to reconcile the general praise with my own sense that the movie represented the most catastrophic artistic collapse since Ben Jonson’s ‘dotages’. That sense has been confirmed by Allen’s new film, Whatever Works. I wanted to love it, because I have loved so many Woody Allen films. But as in VCB, the characters are reduced to crude sketches of embodied attitudes, resembling no human being who ever lived or ever will. One of them is a ‘romantic’: we know this a) because he lives on a houseboat and b) because on several occasions he tells someone so.