IR­RA­TIONAL MAN

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In Woody Allen’s latest, Abe Lu­cas (Joaquin Phoenix) ar­rives as a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at a small New Eng­land col­lege. He’s pre­ceded by a rep­u­ta­tion as a thinker, drinker, and wom­an­izer, and soon stu­dents are flock­ing to his lec­tures and women are lay­ing siege to his bed. One is Rita (Parker Posey), a dis­sat­is­fied mar­ried pro­fes­sor. Another is Jill (Emma Stone), a bright, saucer-eyed un­der­grad­u­ate. Abe has lost his lust for life, and for lust, but it’s rekin­dled when he and Jill over­hear a con­ver­sa­tion that inspires him to un­der­take a fate­ful, ex­is­ten­tial ac­tion. Allen’s scenes neatly lay out the is­sues, but you are al­ways aware of the ar­ma­ture be­neath them. But like most of this di­rec­tor’s work, it’s in­tel­li­gent en­ter­tain­ment of an above-av­er­age stripe. Rated R. 96 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas.

(Jonathan Richards)

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