Woody Allen's latest comedy, "Blue Jasmine," shows that the old master has figured out that if he puts his trademark neurotic dialogue in the mouth of a woman, it can be endearing and funny rather than just desperate and annoying.
The woman in question is Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a former Manhattan socialite who has lost her fortune and her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), and is relocating to San Francisco to live with her adopted sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whose working-class life clashes with Jasmine's highbrow tastes.
Allen bounces between San Francisco and New York, and present and past, as he shows how Jasmine stayed clueless while Hal's Madoff-like financial schemes fell apart. It is juxtaposed with Jasmine's current plight and her dismissal of Ginger's mechanic boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale).
Allen includes some nicely offbeat casting choices particularly Andrew Dice Clay as Ginger's ex, and Louis C.K. as a potential suitor for Ginger but mostly he gives the floor to Blanchett, who captures Jasmine's Xanax-popping neuroses with flinty brilliance.
Opens Friday, Aug. 23, at area theaters; rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content ; 98 minutes.