Irrational Man has a Woody Allen first. That — alone — makes it almost worth seeing. Keyword: almost. OK, another wonderful piece of work from the irresistible Emma Stone also makes it appealing. But little else in Irrational Man works.
First, the first. Critics and Allen fans delight in finding which character in an Allen movie is Woody when he elects to not act in his film. Sometimes it’s one actor. Other times it is the entire cast.
Irrational Man is the first Woody Allen movie where none of the characters are Woody Allen. Sometimes I thought it might be Stone. At other times Parker Posey. Or maybe I didn’t notice because I was so bored.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Abe, a renowned but controversial philosophy professor, who takes a summer gig at a swank college. Stone plays a student obsessed with him, and Posey is a colleague in the same boat. When Stone’s Jill and Phoenix’s Abe overhear a conversation of a woman who is getting a raw deal from a judge, Abe decides to kill the judge.
Allen drags his one-note movie out too long before getting to the conversation, and way too long after. Plusses? Posey. She’s wonderful.