Rifkin's Festival ★★½

Wallace Shawn's performance stands out from the other artifice-laden lead performances of Woody Allen's last decade, as unlike the others, it doesn't work at all. His line deliveries are so staccato that they don't so much create a crosshatching against the rhythms of the rest of the film as they do bring it to a halt nearly every time he speaks, which makes whatever strange tones that could have formed from his interactions with the unique supporting actors dead on arrival. The parodies/recreations of classic films like Persona, Citizen Kane, and Jules and Jim are simply ridiculous; they imitate scenes from the most well-known consensus masterpieces without doing anything beyond surface-level reenactment. Elena Anaya puts in great work as the same kind of female cipher as Allen stars from Diane Keaton in Annie Hall to Elle Fanning in A Rainy Day in New York, but without a competent lead performance in the film, her presence is underutilized.

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