rating: 3Whatever Works marks Woody Allens return to his beloved New York after a six year European vacation that has blended the promising abnormalities of Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona with the disappointing lows of Scoop and Cassandras Dream. It is also a return to familiar characters, themes and stylistic flourishes: the central emotionally conflicted neurotic genius, the at-odds partnership between intellectually incompatible personalities, the direct-to-the camera narration and the psychological/physiological bantering about the absurdity of human existence all within the social confides of cafe culture locales. So there are many reasons why Whatever Works should, well work. The real trump card being the match-made-in-comedy-heaven teaming of comedy geniuses Allen and TV's Mr unlovable Larry David. The genius behind Seinfeldand front-man of Curb Your Enthusiasmis the quintessential Allenesque character; all loose mannerisms and nervous energy with an impulsive cynicism that transforms him into the pinnacle misanthrope. David plays former Columbia professor and self-proclaimed genius Boris Yelinikoff: an obnoxious and disgruntled soul who was almost nominated for the Nobel Prize. Boris divorces his rich wife because she is too perfect for him, attempts (and fails) a suicide and swaps his modern chic apartment for a grungy Chinatown dwelling more suitable for a bohemian existence. He spends his days insulting the small children he teaches chess and his evenings complaining about the pointlessness of life to his downtrodden friends. Easily Allens best New York-set film since 2000s Small Time Crooks, Whatever Works is an amusing return to the Big Apple. While it may not be the Allen/David partnership we were all craving, it should be enough to please fans who prefer their Woody Allen comedies light, fresh and familiar.