Café Society

Rated 3.0

An amiable Bronx youth (Jesse Eisenberg) is transplanted to Hollywood to work for his superagent uncle (Steve Carell)—and promptly falls for the uncle’s secretary (Kristen Stewart) as she shows him around town. Set in the 1930s of Radio Days and Bullets Over Broadway, writer-director Woody Allen’s latest recalls both those classics—the nostalgia for a lost entertainment world, the titillation of gangland connections—as well as the rueful memory of lost love in his masterpiece Annie Hall. The movie is trifling, always promising to be better than it turns out, but it goes down easily, and the self-referential echoes evoke more pleasure than disappointment. The stars blossom in Allen’s hands—Eisenberg may be the best Woody-clone yet, and Stewart has never been anywhere near this interesting before. J.L.